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Crosshatch.  Two sets of parallel lines crossing each other to form texture, as in the field, or shading as in lettering or design. Such shading is derived from the widespread use of crosshatching in flat engraving with liner gravers. In numismatic and medallic art crosshatch is formed with the second row of lines crossing a field of parallel lines, the angles of which are not that critical – they can be perpendicular or oblique. The oblique crosshatch has a name of its own, florentine, forming a field of diamonds. Florentine is somewhat more pleasing to the eye and is widely used as an artistic texture.

Crosshatching can be either incuse or as raised lines on coins and medals. Incuse

crosshatching appears to recede from the viewer, raised crosshatched lines appear to advance toward the viewer. Thus when crosshatch is employed to fill too large an area, as the entire field on a medallic item (as background texture), it is somewhat monotonous and used only for less interesting items. In heraldry, crosshatch is symbolic for sable, the color black.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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