The following terms have been provided by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and/or the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), an open-source classification system intended to provide terminology and other information about the objects, artists, concepts, and places important to various disciplines that specialise in art, architecture, and material culture.


1: Collectively, the class of sculptures, containers, and other objects and artefacts carved in jade, which is any of several varieties of fine-grained rock composed of jadeite, nephrite, serpentine, or other mineralogically related materials. Prominent examples of jades include carved jade objects produced in China from the Neolithic Period (ca. 3000–2000 BCE) onward. The Chinese have historically regarded carved-jade objects as intrinsically valuable, and they metaphorically equated jade with purity and indestructibility. In local the material term "jade (rock)" plus a more specific object name may be used, such as "jade (rock)" + "figurines."
2: Mineral consisting of sodium aluminium silicate, usually containing small amounts of iron, calcium, and magnesium. It constitutes the more valuable variety of jade, ranging in colour from pale to dark green that is commonly called jade; nephrite is the other mineral called "jade." Jadeite is highly valued for its translucent glassy appearance; it is found chiefly in China, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Mexico.


1: comfort in grief : alleviation of grief or anxiety
2: a source of relief or consolation


1a: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation
b: an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

History and Etymology: Middle English supersticion, from Anglo-French, from Latin superstition-, superstitio, from superstit-, superstes standing over (as witness or survivor), from super- + stare to stand


1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2: something that is accepted, considered to be true, or held as an opinion : something believed
3: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence


Study and practice of ritual activities intended to control or influence human or natural events through the invocation of external and impersonal mystical forces beyond the ordinary human sphere; typical ritual activities include the manipulation of special objects and the recitation of spells.


1: of or relating to rites or a ritual, ceremonial
2: according to religious law
3: done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol


Individual stories derived from a mythology; distinguished from historical accounts in that they are considered by current scholars to lack a determinable basis of fact or natural explanation; typically concerning a being, hero, deity, or event and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.

Oral history

History in which historical information is recorded, or histories are presented, in the form of audible speech or song.


Populations who have spread or become dispersed beyond their traditional homeland or point of origin, by either voluntary or forced means.


Relating to, based on, or tracing descent through the maternal line, in contrast to patrilineal means through the father’s line. Both are important concepts in anthropology in determining who will inherit property on a person's death.

Han (Chinese)

1: a Chinese dynasty dated 206b.c.–a.d.220 and marked by centralised control through an appointive bureaucracy, a revival of learning, and the penetration of Buddhism
2: the Chinese peoples especially as distinguished from non-Chinese (such as Mongolian) elements in the population


Religion and philosophical tradition originating in China, generally emphasising individual freedom and spontaneity, laissez-faire government and social primitivism, techniques of self-transformation, mystical experience, and individual and government ethical responsibility. It is founded on the texts of the Tao-te Ching, Chuang-tzu, and Lieh-tzu. Later, the tradition diverged, resulting in strictly philosophical Taoism on the one hand, and religious Taoism on the other. The governing principle of the latter is the struggle to reach a state of 'immortality' through a strict regimen of dietary restrictions, breath control, meditation and visualisation of the gods that inhabit the body, sexual control and discipline, the practice of theoretical internal alchemy (nei-tan) used to energise the Yin and Yang forces within the body, and the use of magic talismans. Successful devotees were known as hsien (Immortals).

Uighur / Uyghur

1: a member of a Turkic people powerful in Mongolia and eastern Turkestan between the 8th and 12th centuries a.d. who constitute a majority of the population of Chinese Turkestan, in Western China.
2: the Turkic language of the Uighurs


A city in Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Muhammad and the site which Muslims must attempt to visit on a pilgrimage (haji, hajji); from its role as a religious destination Mecca began to be used in the early 19th century (sometimes capitalised, and sometimes not) in a non-religious sense.