decorative arts, term referring to a variety of applied visual arts, both two- and three-dimensional, including textiles, metalwork, ceramics, books, and woodwork, as well as to certain aspects of architecture (see ornament), public buildings, and private houses (see interior decoration). It is also applied to numerous household objects that have surfaces suitable for ornamental design; to ecclesiastical vestments and appurtenances; and to personal apparel and belongings, including costumes, jewelry, goldwork and silverware, arms and armor, tools, saddles, and automobiles.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.