NICHE (through Fr. niche from Ital. nicchia, nicchio, shell; possibly from Lat. milulus, a sea-mussel; cf. " napkin " from tnappa), in architecture a recess sunk in a wall, generally for the reception of a statue. The niche is sometimes terminated by a simple label, but more commonly by a canopy, and with a bracket or corbel for the figure, in which case it is often called a " tabernacle."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)