I was introduced to these wonderful architectural 'devices' by Mary Ann from 'Beirut Pursuit'. MA has a pronounced art-history sensibility and an inquisitive eye. I appreciate her blog very much.
This is a corbel. According to Wiki a corbel is a piece of stone jutting out from a wall to take a weight, or in some cases, to give the appearance of taking a weight. You see them below windows and balconies in particular.
Nip over to Beirut and admire the examples that Mary Ann is unearthing.
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