Diaperwork is a repeating ornamental pattern of one or more designs where one outline figures into the shape of the adjoining outline. Often this is seen in the form of a checked pattern of squares, rectangles or lozenge (diamond) shapes. The term is also used to describe medieval silk and gold weaving patterns. Diaper is also applied in reference to the decorative patterns repeating in the background of a heraldic shield. Windows and brickwork are also said to be diapered when designed with an overall pattern.

Art Deco Diaperwork Sapphire and Gold Cigarette Case. Circa 1925. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.