An altar and reredos from University Church, Dublin
is a screen or decoration behind the altar
in a church
, usually depicting religious iconography
or images. It can be made of stone, wood, metal, ivory
, or a combination of materials. The images may be painted, carved, gilded
, composed of mosaics
, and/or embedded with niches for statues. Sometimes a tapestry
is used, or other fabric such as silk
The term dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries, but was nearly obsolete until revived in the 19th century.
See also: altarpiece.