Who has not stood shivering in ancient halls, looking at the draughty open windows, wondering how one closed them during bad weather or the cold winter. The obvious possibilities (wooden planks, animal skin, or parchment) would have left much to want in comfort.
Latticework was more solid und elegant. It was already in use in Late Antiquity, as well as during the early Middle Ages.
I first noticed these ornamented openings, made from flat stone slabs and decorated with thin alabaster, in Asturian churches. Latticework could be produced with stucco as well.
Especially on sunny days, the ornamentation creates beautiful effects in church interiors. Even the decorative patterns on the stone slabs themselves are visible.
With this image, one wonders whether the "inventors" of the tracery work of ca. 1200 were inspired by this latticework. The artisans similarly cut ornamental holes in slabs and, with this process, created the predecessors of elegant Gothic tracery.
Translation: Erik Eising (MA)