A central point, a hub or focal point, or the center of activity. "Omphalos" originally meant navel or umbilicus (bellybutton) in ancient Greece. When placed as a boss at the center of a vessel or of a shield, an omphalos symbolized the center of the world. The ancients also used it to designate a circular altar at Delphi, which was considered the center of the earth.(pr. AHM-fə-l?s)"Omphaloskepsis" is a practice that appeared among English speakers in the 1920s, and means "contemplation of one's navel."Example:Hellenistic, Phiale, c. 300 BCE, repouss? gold, diameter 23 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. In the center of this phiale is a large omphalos, surrounded by a radial pattern of acorns and bees, both of these symbolize the earth's "victual in plenty," as described by Hesiod.The boss at the center of this shield is reminiscent of the omphalos on the shields of ancient Greece. A type of shield popular in England in the 13th and 15th centuries, this shield was known as a "buckler," made mostly of leather, entire diameter about 14 inches. Much smaller bosses encircle the large central one. See arms & armor.Quote: "Florence and Paris have had their turns, and London has a new claim to it, but many will tell you that New York City is still the omphalos of art." John Pierson (contemporary), Fortune Small Business, April, 2000. Also see dot and point.