/kan"euh pee/, n., pl. canopies, v., canopied, canopying.n.1. a covering, usually of fabric, supported on poles or suspended above a bed, throne, exalted personage, or sacred object.2. an overhanging projection or covering, as a long canvas awning stretching from the doorway of a building to a curb.3. an ornamental, rooflike projection or covering.4. Also called crown canopy, crown cover. the cover formed by the leafy upper branches of the trees in a forest.5. the sky.6. the part of a parachute that opens up and fills with air, usually made of nylon or silk.7. the transparent cover over the cockpit of an airplane.v.t.8. to cover with or as with a canopy: Branches canopied the road.[1350-1400; ME canope < ML canopeum, var. of L conopeum mosquito net < Gk konopeîon bed with net to keep gnats off, equiv. to kónop(s) gnat + -eion, neut. of -eios adj. suffix]
* * *in architecture, a projecting hood or cover suspended over an altar, statue, or niche. It originally symbolized a divine and royal presence and was probably derived from the cosmic audience tent of the Achaemenian kings of Persia. In the Middle Ages it became a symbol of the divine presence in churches. During the 14th and 15th centuries, tombs, statues, and niches were overhung with richly decorated tabernacle work in stone, and these were reflected in delicate spiral wooden canopies over fonts.With the Renaissance, the canopy placed over the altar developed into the baldachin (q.v.), a fixed structure supported on pillars that reached its most highly evolved form in the 17th century with Gian Lorenzo Bernini's great Baroque baldachin over the high altar of St. Peter's in Rome. Between the mid-16th and 18th centuries canopies were in use for various purposes throughout Europe. Over pulpits (pulpit) in the Protestant countries of western Europe a flat wooden canopy called a sounding board was placed, and great canopies of classical inspiration were erected over important sepulchral monuments. The traditional Jewish wedding ceremony takes place beneath a type of canopy known as a ḥuppa.In domestic architecture, canopies over doors and fireplaces have been in use from the earliest times.
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