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A diptych is any object with two flat plates attached at a hinge. Devices of this form were quite popular in the ancient world, types existing for recording notes and for measuring time and direction. The term is also used figuratively for a thematically-linked sequence of two books.

In Late Antiquity ivory diptyches with decorated covers were a significant art-form, deriving from the "consular diptych" made to celebrate an individual becoming Roman consul. Many of the most important surviving works of the Late roman Empire are diptychs. From the Middle Ages many panel paintings were in diptych form, from small portable works for personal use to large altarpieces. These are discussed with other multi-panel forms of painting at polyptych.

Traditional diptychs are boxwood, with stamped hour lines and lacquered or varnished finishes. Some were also ivory (superior because it is easiest to read and less prone to wear than wood), or metal (sturdy, harder to read but less expensive than ivory).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Diptych" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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