A pedestal (from French ''piédestal'', Italian ''piedistallo'', "foot of a stall") or plinth
is the support of a statue
or a vase
, and of a column in architecture. Smaller pedestals, especially if round in shape, may be called socles
. In civil engineering
, it is also called basement. The minimum height of the plinth is usually kept as 45 cm (for buildings). It transmits loads from superstructure
to the substructure
and acts as the retaining wall for the filling inside the plinth or raised floor.
An elevated pedestal or plinth which bears a statue and which is raised from the substructure
supporting it (typically roofs or corniches) is sometimes called an acropodium. The term is from the Greek
''akros'' or "topmost" and ''pous'' (root ''pod-'') or "foot".
Although in Syria
, Asia Minor
the Romans occasionally raised the columns of their temples or propylaea
on square pedestals, in Rome
itself they were employed only to give greater importance to isolated columns, such as those of Trajan
, or as a podium
to the columns employed decoratively in the Roman triumphal arches.
The architects of the Italian Renaissance
, however, conceived the idea that no order was complete without a pedestal, and as the orders were by them employed to divide up and decorate a building in several stories, the cornice of the pedestal was carried through and formed the sills of their windows, or, in open arcades, round a court, the balustrade
of the arcade
. They also would seem to have considered that the height of the pedestal should correspond in its proportion with that of the column or pilaster
it supported; thus in the church of Saint John Lateran, where the applied order is of considerable dimensions, the pedestal is high instead of the ordinary height of 3 to .
In Asian art a lotus throne
is a stylized lotus flower used as the seat or base for a figure. It is the normal pedestal for divine figures in Buddhist art
and Hindu art
, and often seen in Jain art
. Originating in Indian art
, it followed Indian religions
to East Asia
In imperial China, a stone tortoise called ''bixi
'' was traditionally used as the pedestal for important stele, especially those associated with emperors.Stele on the Back of Stone Tortoise
(an overview of the ''Bixi'' tradition) According to the 1396 version of the regulations issued by the Ming Dynasty founder, the Hongwu Emperor, the highest nobility (those of the ''gong'' and ''hou'' ranks) and the officials of the top 3 ranks were eligible for ''bixi''-based funerary tablets, while lower-level mandarins' steles were to stand on simple rectangular pedestals.
* Pedestal desk
* Pedestal table, a table with a single central leg
* An (Shinto)