Dorsal (or Dossal) (Lat. dorsum, and Fr. dos, "the back").
(1) The hinder part of a stall.
(2) The hanging behind the choir stalls, or an altar, and rendered tapecium. It is made of satin or damask, and should have a representation of the Crucifixion embroidered on it; or, if there be a crucifix on the altar, there should be depicted one of the joyful mysteries. At St. Alban's, at the close of the 11th century, it was wrought with the martyrdom of the saint; and two others, in the 12th. century, represented the Prodigal Son and the Traveller who Fell among Thieves. Some heraldic tapestries were in use behind the stalls of Exeter. Possibly dorsals were the origin of the linen pattern on panelling.