Saturday, March 3, 2012

Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms
Edition 4.0[1-30]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Preamble
There are currently eight data bases on this blogspot, namely, the Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, the Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns, Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements, Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms and the Glossary of Scientific Terms, which has been updated to Version 3.5. All data bases will be updated from time-to-time in the future.

The Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms is highly focused, containing definitions and terms pertinent to the specific categories in the title.

If you find any post on this blog site useful, you can save it or copy and paste it into your own "Word" document etc. for your future reference. For example, Safari allows you to save a post (e.g. click on "File", click on "Print" and release, click on "PDF" and then click on "Save As" and release - and a PDF should appear where you have stored it). Safari also allows you to mail a post to a friend (click on "File", and then point cursor to "Mail Contents On This Page" and release). Either way, this or other posts on this site may be a useful Art Resource for you.

The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all! The references - that were invaluable in this compilation - are given at the end of the glossary.


Introduction
It used to begin with just a dictionary, then thesaurus, and before too long perhaps even an encyclopedia - all bound and proudly standing on your bookshelf. Sooner or later as you gathered technical tomes, with extensive glossaries, you always wished that you could combine the glossaries into one super compendium that reflected your interest. Unfortunately, Blogger have got size restrictions and so I had to create well focussed glossaries, rather than a single all-encompassing one.

I started my own Glossary of Cultural and Structural Terms several decades before Wikipedia. Initially, Wikipedia was only as technically correct as its contributors - and that, in some cases was found to be wanting. Then in its second incarnation, they required their editors to list sources, encouraged their readership to challenge incorrect entries, created dialogues in order to eventually move to agreed definition(s) or description(s). It has become a great resource – a one-stop shop for unpacking definitions. What is more - it is fast and efficient.




What Wikipedia also does not let you do is - browse. Search algorithms are getting smarter on that score. Just Google a word or a phrase! However, when you look up "Kersey" in Wikipedia you do not see "Kasha" (which is defined as: “A type of flannel that has black and colored fibers in the filling yarns.”) Serendipity sometimes works wonders. “Ah, I have often wondered what was Kasha - thanks Kersey!” That is why some Emeritus Professors lament a digitized world - they see serendipity fast disappearing in a manically ordered information systems. A little bit of serendipity, they say, is the basis of some great discoveries.

The first week of every month will give an overview of some area which underpins the art practice of dyeing or printing on cloth. The intention is to present small parcels of knowledge, which will be understood by novices, who may wish to enter this new continent of art called ArtCloth or dabble in the traditional fine-art prints on paper.

Marie-Therese Wisniowski's ArtCloth Work Titled - Entropy (Detailed View).
Techniques: Multiple discharge processes, silkscreened, stenciled and mono printed employing gels, transparent, opaque and metallic paints on rayon.
Size: 110 cm (width) x 320 cm (length).

The references - that were invaluable in this compilation - are given at the end of the glossary. All errors are mine. Enjoy!

Marie-Therese.


Glossary of Cultural and Architectural Terms

Abbassids (Dynasty): Arabic 8th-13th Century.

Abominable Snowman, Yeti Large, hairy manlike animal said to live in the Himalayas.

ab ova (Latin): "From the egg": from the beginning.

Achaemenid (Dynasty): Persian, 6th-4th Century BC.

Acushla (Irish): "O pulse (of my heart)";a term of endearment.

Adat (Indonesia): Customary traditions and practices.

Aedile: Roman official responsible for public works.

Aetheling/Atheling: Anglo-Saxon nobleman or prince.

Aestheticism: Belief that beauty is the basic principle of chief good in life and underlies mortality.

ad hoc (Latin): "For this thing": for a particular purpose or occasion, as a committee might be.

ad hominem (Latin): "to the man": directed at someone personally, as criticism might be.

ad lib, ad libitum (Latin): "At pleasure": freely, unscripted, improvised.

ad nauseam (Latin): To the point of disgust.

aegrotat (Latin): "He is ill": sickness certificate.

a fortiori (Latin): All the more so, with even greater reason.

Afreet: Powerful evil demon of Arab mythology.

Aga: High-ranking official of the Ottoman Empire.

Aggiornamento (Italian): Modernization.

Agama (Indonesia): Religion.

Agnomen: Additional, usually fourth, name as bestowed on Roman military heroes.

Agnus Dei: "Lamb of God", prayer in three parts spoken or sung in the Mass.

Ahimsa (Indian): Doctrine of non-violence toward all living creatures.

Aikido (Japanese): Martial art, similar to judo>

Ainu (Japanese): Aboriginal inhabitant of Northern Japan.

a la mode (French): In fashion.

Albigensians: Ascetic Catharian sect in the 12th and 13th Century France, believing that the material world was purely evil.

Alcalde (Spanish): Mayor or chief magistrate.

Alcazar (Spanish): Palace or fortress, as built by Moors.

Alcheringga/Dreamtime (Australia Aboriginal Term): Mythical Golden Age of the past, or time of creation of the natural world.

Aleinu: Prayer near the end of a Jewish service.

Alfresco (Italian): In the open air.

Allah (Islam): God, supreme being of Muslim faith.

All City (Graffiti Term): The state of being known for one's graffiti throughout a city. Originally, this term meant to be known throughout the five boroughs of New York City through the medium of subway cars.

al-Magrib (Arabic): 'The place of sunset', Islamic North West Africa and the Iberian peninsula.

alma mater (Latin): "Nourishing mother": one's old school, college or university.

Almoravides (Dynasty): Berber, 11th-12th Century.

alumnus (Latin): "Foster child": former pupil or student, as of an alma mater.

Amandla! (South African): Power! Used as a black power slogan.

Amidah: Main prayer at a Jewish service.

Amish: US anabaptist sect that broke away from the Mennonites in the 17th Century.

amour-propre (French): Self-esteem.

Anabaptists: Radical Protestant movement that developed in the 1520s, believing in pacifism and adult baptism.

Anangu: An Australian aboriginal Pitjantatjara word meaning people; it may be used in a general way to mean "Aboriginal person" or more usually to denote a person from the Western Desert region (Australia).

Ancestral Realm: See Dreaming.

Angelus: Prayer said, morning, noon and night by Roman Catholics to commemorate the Annunciation.

Angevin (Dynasty): English, 12th-13th Century.

Angst (German): Anxiety.

annus mirabilis (Latin): Year of wonders, great achievements or disasters, or the like.

Antependium: A structure (painted or metalwork or fabric) which hangs in the front of an altar.



Antinomianism: Rejection of conventional morality; doctrine rejecting moral law on the ground that salvation derives from grace or faith alone.

Aotearoa (Maori): "Land of the long white cloud"; New Zealand.

Apartheid (South African): Racial segregation.

Apparat (Russian): Communist Party ashine or administrative system; bureaucracy.

Apparatchik (Russian): Bureaucrat.

a priori (Latin): Self-evident, known independently of experience; from the general to the particular, as deductive reasoning is.

Aquamanile: Secular or ecclesiastic pouring vessel for hand-washing, often in the form of an animal figure.



Aragoto (Japanese): Literally, "rough stuff"; a vigorous but stylized form of acting in the Kabuki theatre, often associated with brightly painted geometric designs on the faces of the actors; a common style of yakusha-e.

Aratame (Japanese): Literally, "examined"; a character found in many censor seals.

Arcade: A series of arches carried on columns. When the columns and arches are fixed against a wall, this is known as blind arcade.



Aragoto: Literally, "rough stuff"; a vigorous but stylized form of acting in the Kabuki theatre, often associated with brightly-painted geometric designs on the faces of the actors; a common style of of yakusha-e.

Archaic: Primitive, antiquated or obsolete; Greek art before 17th Century BC. Also, archaic smile; the expression, almost a smile, of Greek sculptured heads before the 7th century.

Archaic Smile.

Architectonic: Architectural. Paintings, sculptures or craft objects that exhibit the structural or textural traits of buildings.

Architectonic steel construction.

Arpad: (Dynasty) Hungarian, 9th-14th Century.

Arrivederci (Italian): Goodbye.

Art Coordinator: The manager or administrator of an Australian Aboriginal arts center, usually employed from outside the local community and answerable to an Aboriginal committee of artists.

Artel (Russian): Worker's cooperative.

Asantehene: Paramount chief of the Ashanti people of West Africa.

Ashet (Scottish): Serving dish.

Ashkenzai (Jewish): Jew of Central or Eastern European descent.

Ashram (Hindu): Holy man's hermitage; religious retreat or meeting place.

Asuka (552-710, Japanese Period): During this period, Chinese influences appeared in Japan, a written language based heavily on Chinese started to appear, and the first organized states appeared in Japan, with their capital in the Asuka valley.

Ataman/Hetman: Coosak chief.

Atman (Hindu): Individual essence; universal soul.

Atrium: Open Roman courtyard within a house or villa.

ATSIC: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

au fait (French): Familiar or conversant with.

auf Wiedersehen (German): Farewell.

Augur, Auspex: Roman religious official who interpreted omens, soothsayer.

Autostrada (Italian): Motorway.

avant-garde (French): Ahead of the times, pioneering.

Avatar (Hindu): Descent to Earth of a deity; any of the incarnations of the god Vishnu.

Avalokiteshvara (Chinese Term): The bodhisattva (enlightened being) of compassion (Guan Yin - Chinese).

Guan Yin Goddess.

Ave Maria: "Hail Mary", prayer honouring Virgin Mary, in Roman Catholic Worship.

Aviz (Dynasty): Portuguese, 14th - 16th Century.

Awely: An Alyawarr and Anmatyerr word (Aboriginal languages) meaning women's designs/body paint and ceremonies; Anmatyerr is spoken by many of the artists from the Utopia region (Australia).

Artist: Annie Pitjara Hunter.

Ayatollah (Islam): Shiite religious leader.

Azan (Islam): Summons to prayer, made by the muezzin five times daily.

Babism: Persia: Religion founded in the 19th Century by Ali Muhammad known as "the Baby", "Gateway", who tried to combine the best of all religions.

Babushka (Russian): Grandmother; old woman; headscarf.

Backblocks/Outback: Australian term for remote country areas.

Bahaism: Persia: religion developed from Babism by the 19th Century religious leader Bahaullah.

Bairn (Scottish): Child.

Balalaika (Russian): Three-stringed guitar-like instruments.

Bamboo {zhu 竹} (Chinese Symbol): The pronounciation of ‘bamboo’, zhu, is a homophone for ‘to congratulate’ (zhu 祝). Bamboo is a symbol of longevity and vitality because it can survive the hardest natural conditions and remains green all year round. It also represents the qualities of durability, strength, flexibility and resilience since it will bend in a storm but does not break.

Bandicoot: An Australian rat-like marsupial.



Banneret: Knight who led men into battle.

Banshee (Irish): Female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death.

Bar Mitzvah (Jewish): Boy of 13, considered an adult; ceremony making his attaining adult status.

Barrakah (Arabic): "Blessing". A quality attributed to holy men, which can also be imparted to others. Barrakah may also emanate from places and objects.

Barramundi: An Australian edible long-fish.



Basilica: Originally a Roman building used as a court of law or for public meetings; evolved under Christianity into the Church, building with a long, narrow nave, side aisles, an apse at the end formerly occupied by the judge or emperor’s representative.

St. Peter's Basilica.

Basilisk: Serpent, lizard or dragon reputed to kill by its breath or look.

Bat {fu 蝠} (Chinese Symbol): The bat is a symbol of happiness and joy. The Chinese for bat (fu 蝠) sounds identical to the word for good fortune(fu 福) making bats a popular Chinese rebuses. Five bats together represent the ‘Five Blessings’ (wufu 五福): long life, wealth, health, love of virtue and a peaceful death.



Bawbee (Scottish): Halfpenny.

Beatification: Offical recognition and proclaiming of a dead person to be blessed, usually preliminary to canonisation.

beau monde (French): Fashionable society.

beaux-arts (French): Fine-arts.

Beedi (Indian): Hand-rolled cigarette, typically a single rolled leaf tied with a thread.

Beef (Graffiti Term): Disagreement or conflict.

Begum (Islam): Muslin princess or lady of high rank, especially in India.

Behaviourism: Doctrine that behaviour, rather than the mind or consciousness is all that can really be known or studied about human nature.

Behemoth:> Hippopotamus-like beast described in the Book of Job.

belle époque (French): "Beautiful period", the era preceding the First World War.

belles-lettres (French): Fine literature.

Bench (Graffiti Term): Subway station where writers congregate and watch trains. Benching (v) The act of watching trains.

Benching (Graffiti Term): The act of watching trains.

béte noire (French): Especially disliked person or thing.

Bey/Beg: Provincial governor or other high official of the Ottoman Empire.

Bhagavad-Gita (Hindu): Religious text in the Mahabharata.

Bhakti (Hindu): Devotion to a particular god as a means of achieving salvation.

Bhishti (Indian): Water-carrier in former times.

Bierkeller (German): Beer cellar.

Bildungsroman (German): Novel dealing with the early life of one person.

Billabong: Australian term for waterhole in a drying river.



Billfold (American): Wallet.

billet-doux (French): Love letter.

Biltong (South African): Sun-dried strips of salted meat.

Bite (Graffiti Term): Plagiarism.

Blini (Russian): Buckwheat pancakes.

Blitzkreig (German): Lightening attack.

Block Buster (Graffiti Term): Wide lettered piece stretching from end to end done below window level on subway car.

Bludge: Australian term covering such acts as: to shirk; to scrounge; an easy task; a period of idleness.

Boteh (Persian): 'Cluster of leaves' describing the paisley motif.

BMT (Graffiti Term): NYC subway division called Brooklyn Manhattan Transit company. Includes J, L, M, N, Q, R, Z subway lines.

Bodega (Spanish): Wineshop or wine store.

Boerewors (South African): Spicy sausage.

Bolshevik (Russian): Member of the Communist Party; formerly, supporter of Lenin.

Bomb (Graffiti Term): Prolific writing.

Bombora: An Australian term for submerge reef, or turbulent water above it.

Medewi.

bona fide (Latin): "In good faith": genuine or sincere.

bon mot (French): Pithy witticism.

bonne bouche (French): Delectable tibia or item.

Bonsai (Japanese): Cultivation of miniature trees.

Bonsella (South African): Smalls tip, gift, or reward.

bon vivant (French): Person who enjoys luxurious living.

Bonze (Buddhist Term): Monk of the Mahayana School, active in China and Japan.

Bora: An Australian aboriginal initiation ceremony for boys.



Borscht (Russian): Beetroot or cabbage soup.

Bo Tree/Peepul: Scared fig tree, under which Buddha attained enlightenment.

Bourbon (Dynasty): Franco-Spanish, from 16th Century.

Boyar/Boyard: Russian aristocrat.

Boyla: An Australian aboriginal term for witch doctor.



Braaiviels (South African): Barbecue.

Bradshaw Figures: See Gwion Gwion.

Aboriginal Rock Paintings.

Brae (Scottish): Hillside.

Braganca (Dynasty): Portuguese, 17th-20th Century.

Breviary: Book of hymns, psalms, and prayers to be recited by Roman Catholic clergy at services.

Broiler (American): Griller.

Brumby: An Australian term for a wild horse.



Bubbly Jack (Scottish): Turkey.

Buddha: Person who has achieved total spiritual enlightenment.

Buddha's Hand Citron (Chinese Symbol): Happiness and longevity.


Buddhist Lion (Chinese Religious Symbol): Guardian lion.

Chinese Imperial Lion Statue.

Buff (Graffiti Term): Removal of writing/art work.

Bull: Edict issued by the Pope often sealed with a bulla or lead seal.

Bullroarer/Thunderstick: Small wooden tile that booms when whirled about on a thong, used in Australian Aboriginal religious ceremonies.

Bundu, Granadoelas (South African): Remote country area, back of beyond.

Bunraku (Japanese): The Japanese puppet theatre, a very popular form of entertainment for the chōnin, and the source of many plays for the Kabuki theatre, as puppet plays were adapted for the stage. Puppet performances have a long history in Japan, but the puppet theatre, which included recited or chanted dramas called jōruri, developed in the Kamigata region in the early Seventeenth Century. Unlike Western puppets, the bunraku puppets are quite large, one-half to two-thirds life-size, and operators are visible on stage, clothed entirely in black robes and hoods.

Bunyip: A legendary Australian Aboriginal monster, haunting swamps and water holes.

Australian Museum's bunyip skull of 1847.

Burgh (Scottish): Town or borough.

Burgrave: Hereditary lord of medieval Germany.

Burn (Graffiti Term): (i) To out do the competition; (ii) To wear out.

Burner (Graffiti Term): A technically and stylistically well-executed wild style piece. Generally done in bright colors.

Bushido (Japanese): Samurai code of ethics.

Cabala (Jewish): Mystical philosophy based on interpretations of the Old Testament.

Caballero (Spanish): Gentleman.

Cacique: Chief of an American Indian tribe in Latin America; local political boss in Latin America.

Cadi (Islam): Judge, interpreting the Muslim law.

Caesar: Roman Emperor; any powerful or dictatorial leader.

Calender (Islam): Member of a wandering mystical sect, as in Turkey and India, supported by charity.

Calends: First day of a Roman month.

Caliph: Ruler of a Muslim state.

Calvinists: Followers of the16th Century Protestant theologian John Calvin, believing in the strict authority of the bible, and in Salvation through God's grace alone.

Candi (Javanese): Hindu or Buddist temple.

Canonical Hours: Prayers or services set for specific times of the day in the Roman Catholic Church.

Canonization: Official Roman Catholic recognition and proclaiming of a dead person to be a saint.

Canopy (Chinese Symbol): Spiritual authority.



Cantina (Spanish): Bar or wine shop.

Capetian (Dynasty): French, 8th - 14th Century.

Capital: The head or topmost part of a column or pier; because of its characteristic shape and decoration, it may be called Doric, Ionic, Etruscan, or Corinthian.



Capo: Divisional leader in the Mafia.

Capriccio: Italian caprice. An imaginative or fanciful subject, such as an architectural view based on composite or totally invented buildings and/or ruins.

An Architectural Caprice.

Caps (Graffiti Term): (Fat, skinny, German thin) Interchangeable spray-can nozzles fitted to paint can to vary width of spray.

Non-Contiguous Cartogram.

Carabiniere (Italian): Policeman.

Carolingian/Carlovingian (Dynasty): Frankish, 8th - 10th Century.

carte blanche (French): Free hand, unconditional authorisation.

Cartogram: Map which incorporates statistical information.

Cassone: (plural: cassoni). Italian meaning: “large chest”. Term generally used to refer to decorated Italian wedding chest.

Courtesy of Getty Museum.

Cassowary: Large flightless Australian bird.

casus belli (Latin): "Cause of war": justification oe=r cause of a dispute.

Caudillo: Spanish military, leader, dictator.

cause célèbre (French): Interesting, and controversial public issue.

cave (Latin): "Beware": look out, be careful.

caveat emptor (Latin): "Let the buyer beware": the principle that the purchaser cannot assume that the purchase will be exactly as hoped.

céad míle fáilte (Irish): "A Hundred thousand welcomes".

ceilidh (Irish/Scottish): Social gathering.

Censor: Either of two Roman officials who were responsible for public census, and public morals and behaviour.

Centurion: Roman officer commanding a small military unit.

Centaur: Creature of Greek mythology having the head, trunk and arms of a man and legs of a horse.

Cerberus: Three-headed watchdog of Hades, the Greek underworld.

Certosina: Geometric patterned inlay of wood, bone, mother of pearl, and metal favoured in north Italian centers such as Venice.

A rare, late-16th century, alla Certosina.

Chakkri (Dynasty): Siamese (Thai), from 18th Century.

Champleve: An enamelling technique in which the glass is contained within engraved depressions in metal (usually copper alloy) plate.

Champlevé.

Chancery Cursive: Style of calligraphy with a contemporary look. Less formal lettering.



Chapatti, Roti, Nan, Puri, Paratha (Indian): Flat bread of various kinds.

Charismatics: Followers of a movement seeking to reassert influence of the Holy Trinity and marked by such practices as spiritual healing and speaking in tongues.

Charkha (Indian): Spinning wheel.

Charpoy (Indian): Light bedstead.

Chassidim/Hassidim (Jewish): Sect of extremely orthodox Jews of a mystical tradition.

Chazan (Jewish): Cantor, chief singer in a synagogue.

Chela (Hindu): Pupil or disciple of a guru.

Che Sarà Sarà (Italian): What will be, will be.

Chevalier Knight of a French order.

Chevet: French term for east end of church with chancel, ambulatory, and radiating chapels.



Chimera/Chimaera: Fire-breathing monster of classical mythology, having a lion's head, a she-goat's body, and a serpents tail.

Chinese Numbers (Chinese Symbol):
Four (si 四)
The number four (si 四) is considered unlucky by most Chinese people since it has the same pronunciation as si 死, death. Businesses and house numbers often avoid using four in numerical sequences and hotels in China are often missing a fourth floor.

Five (wu 五)

The number five is a very auspicious number and associated with the Five Elements (wuxing 五行) of water (shui 水), fire (huo 火), wood (mu 木), metal (jin 金) and earth (tu 土) which are essential for a good life. The waxing are one of the basic organisational principles in Chinese thought, which is why the number five appears ubiquitously as in the Five Blessings, Five Classics or the Five Metals.

Eight (ba 八)

Ba 八 for ‘eight’ is pronounced similarly to fa 发 for ‘to expand’, as in ‘to expand in wealth’ (facai发财). Due to this connection, people like to include the number eight in items such as telephone numbers, street addresses and car registration plates as they believe it will bring good fortune.

Nine (jiu 九)
The number nine is the highest single digit number and was traditionally associated with the Emperor. In addition, jiu ‘nine’ has the same pronunciation as jiu 久 ‘long lasting’ and is often used at weddings with the wish for a long and successful marriage.

Chinese Symbols: Symbolic meaning has played a significant role in the lives of the Chinese. The nature of their written and spoken language has contributed to the rich vocabulary of symbolism. The large numbers of homophones in the Chinese language means that words with different meanings become associated with each other due to a similarity of sound when spoken. As well as linguistic symbolism, there are symbols which originated from ancient cosmological and mythical beliefs. Symbolic meanings form an intrinsic part of culture and are readily understood by Chinese people.

Ch'in/Qin (Dynasty): Chinese 17th - 20th Century.

Ch'ing/Qing (Dynasty): Chinese, 17th - 20th Century.

Chōnin (Japanese): Literally, a "town person"; whilst theoretically the lowest social class under the Tokugawa Shogunate, they soon became economically the most powerful class, causing severe strains to the social system set up by the Tokugawa. Their inability to rise in status caused much of their spare energy and wealth to be spent in diversions, including the Kabuki theatre, and ukiyo-e prints.

Chogyal: Ruler of Sikkim.

Chōnin: Literally, a "town person"; whilst theoretically the lowest social class under the Tokugawa Shogunate, they soon became economically the most powerful class, causing severe strains to the social system set up by the Tokugawa. Their inability to rise in status caused much of their spare energy and wealth to be spent in diversions, including the Kabuki theatre, and ukiyo-e prints.

Chou (Dynasty): Chinese, 11th - 3rd Century BC.

Christadelphians: Sect founded in the US in the late 1840s, rejecting the Holy Trinity and believing in complete obliteration of the wicked.

Christian Scientists: Members of the Church of Christ, Scientist founded in 1879, emphasizing spiritual healing.

Chrysanthemum {juhua 菊花} (Chinese Symbol): The chrysanthemum is a symbol of autumn and the flower of the ninth moon. It is a symbol of longevity because of its health-giving properties. During the Han dynasty (206 BC- AD 220), people drank chrysanthemum wine on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month in order to prolong their lives. Nowadays, the Chinese continue to drink chrysanthemum petal tea for its health giving qualities.



Chunder: Australian term for act of vomiting.

Churinga: A Australian aboriginal term for a sacred charm or amulet of stone; bullroarer.

Stone Churinga, TJURINGA, Central Desert.

Ciao (Italian): Informal greeting or goodbye.

Cicerone (Italian): Guide who shows visitors around a place.

Clean Train (Graffiti Term): Current term for all New York City Subway cars. They are difficult to hit and rarely go into service with writing on them.

Cloisonne: A means of setting cut stones or enamel between thin metal “walls” which have been fixed to a back-plate.

Cloisonne Vase.

Coal Mine (Graffiti Term): Older IND and BMT (R1s-R9s) subway cars characterized by a unpainted brown dusty surface. Retired from service in 1976.

Cobber: An Australian term to describe a mate or friend.

Cockatrice: Creature of classical mythology, supposedly hatched from a cock's egg and having a death-dealing glance.

Codex Juris Canonici: Code of law governing the Roman Catholic Church since 1918.

Cognomen: Third name of a citizen of the Roman Empire.

Cognoscente (Italian): Connoisseur.

Cohort: Subdivision of a Roman legion, numbering 300 to 600 men.

Collect: Brief prayer spoken before the epistle at Mass or Holy Communion.

Collect Call (American): Reverse-charge call.

Collector: Chief administrative officer of India during British rule.

Colleen (Irish): Young girl.

comme il faut (French): Proper, in keeping with accepted standards.

Commissar (Russian): Communist party official supervising party loyalty and education.

Compline: List of the seven canonical hours.

compositor mantis (Latin): "Of sound mind": sane.

Conch Shell (Chinese Symbol): Voice of Buddha. It is one of the eight auspicious symbols.



Conclave: Meeting of Cardinals to elect a new Pope.

Condottieri (Italian): Mercenary soldiers.

Confiteor: Prayer including a standardised confession of sins, in Roman Catholic worship.

Confucianism (Chinese Term): A moral code of behavior based on the teachings of Confucius (551 - 479 BC).



Consistory: Meeting of the Pope and Cardinals to announce papal acts officially.

Consul: Chief official or magistrate in the ancient Roman Republic, ruling in a pair.

Contrapposto: A figural pose in which one part of the body turns or twists away from another, usually in an unsymmetrical pose characteristic of classical Greek and Roman figure sculpture, in which the weight is carried by one leg while the other is relaxed. This system of figural articulation was revived and much exploited during the Italian Renaissance.

Contrapposto pose, how the body adjusts to balance.

Coolabah: An Australian eucalyptus tree on river banks.



Coolamon: Wooden carrying dishes used by Australian Aboriginals in the desert.



Coolgardie Safe: An Australian term for a dampened box or cupboard for keeping food cool.



Copts: Members of the Coptic Church entered in Egypt, professing monophysitism.

Coral (Chinese Symbol): Good fortune.



Corbel: A block or stone projecting at right angles from the wall in order to support the springing of an arch or the eaves of roof.



cordon sanitaire (French): Buffer zone.

Cortes (Spanish): Parliament.

Coronach (Irish): Gaelic funeral dirge.

Corroboree: An Australian Aboriginal ceremonial gathering and dance festival.

Australian Aborigines at an event commonly called a corroboree. This ceremony consists of much singing.

Cossack (Russian): Member of a Southern Russian people, formerly famous as cavalrymen.

Cotter, Crofter (Scottish): Cottager and smallholders.

Cotton Candy/Spun Sugar(American): Fairy Floss.

coup de grâce (French): Conclusive stroke; death blow.

Crackleglaze: See craquelure.

Crane {he鹤} (Chinese Symbol): The crane is a symbol of longevity because it lives a long life and its white feathers stand for old age. It also represents high status as the crane is regarded as ‘a bird of the first rank’ in the imperial hierarchy. Flying cranes symbolises a wish or hope to become an official in a higher position.

Craquelure: Decorative glaze developed in the eighteenth century France to reproduce the fine network of cracks on Eastern lacquer work and pottery. Also known as crackleglaze.



Crayon Manner: An eighteenth century intaglio process (also called “chalk” manner) that employed spiked wheels (roulettes) to established grainy areas on an etching ground. The etched areas imitated chalk (crayon in French) marks when printed. Crayon manner was used primarily to reproduce sanguine chalk drawings popular in the eighteenth century.

Gabriel Smith's crayon-manner engraving, “Study of Three Hands”, 1765.

Creole: Born or assimilated into the Caribbean region.



Crew (Graffiti Term): Organized group of writers.

cri de coeur (French): Heartfelt cry or appeal.

crime passional (French): Crime provoke by sexual jealousy.

Crore (Indian): Ten million.

Crossing Out (Graffiti Term): To scribble or write on someone else's name. It is considered highly disrespectful.

Crow Quill: A term referring to a very fine pen, derived from the original use of a cut crow's quill.



cum laude (Latin): "With praise": referring to a good examination result or degree.

Cuneiform: Ancient Middle Eastern script using wedge-shaped characters.

Curia: (i) Senate House in Roman times; (ii) Papal court and its officials.

curriculum vitae (Latin): "Course of life": outline or resumé, as for job applications, of one's qualifications and career.

Cyclops: Giants with a single eye in the mid-forehead, encountered by Odysseus.

Cyrillic: Alphabet used in Russia and Bulgaria.

Dacha (Russian): Country house.

Dacoit (Indian): Member of an armed robber band.

Dado: Lower part of the room wall when it is faced or colored differently from the upper part.



Daimio (Japanese): Prince or noble.

Daimyō: Literally, "great name", a major feudal private land holder, of whom there were several hundred in Japan during the Edo period. They held fiefs of widely varying sizes, measured in terms of the income they produced, in koku of rice per year, down to 10,000 koku per year. Those who held smaller fiefs were known as shōmyō, literally "small name".

Dak (Indian): Post or mail.

Dak Bungalow (Indian): House providing accommodation for travellers.

Dalai Lama: Traditional highest priest and ruler in Tibet and Mongolia (now exiled in India).

Dauphin: Eldest son of French King.

Decal/Decalcomania (American): Transfer, transferable picture or design.

Decimate: Kill every tenth Roman man in a cowardly or mutinous military unit.

Decretal: Papal decree deciding a point of canon law.

DEF (Graffiti Term): Excellent (derived from definite and death).

de facto (Latin): In reality; regardless of legal status.

de fide: Referring to s doctrine that is an article of Roman Catholic faith.

déjà vu (French): Sense of having undergone before something being experienced for the first time now.

de jure (Latin): In accordance with the law, by right, legally.

démodé (French): Out of fashion, out of date.

Denarius: Silver coin issued by Roman magistrates.

deo volente, d.v. (Latin): "God willing".

de profundis (latin): "from the depths": in deep despair.

Derby (American): Bowler hat.

de rigueur (French): Required by fashion or social custom.

dernier chi (French): Latest fashion.

Dervish (Islam): Members of various ascetic Muslim orders, some of which perform whirling dances to attain ecstasy.

Designs (Graffiti Term): Polka dots, checkers stars swirls are placed over the fill-in to in hence and compliment fill-in. Designs are limited only by an artists imagination and technical ability.

Determinism: Doctrine that every event happens according to physical laws, is causally determined, and is independent of human will.

de trop (French): Unwanted, getting in the way.

deus ex machine (Latin): "god out of a machine": person or thing that suddenly resolves a problem; device providing a contrived resolution in a play.

Deva (hindu): God or divinity.

Devanagari: Syllabic script used in Sanskrit texts and Hindi and other Indian languages.

Devil's advocate, Promoter of Faith, Promoter Fidei: Roman Catholic official appointed to argue against a proposed beatification or canonisation.

Dey: Turkish governor or commander in Algeria in former times.

DGA (Graffiti Term): Don't Get Around.

Dharma (Hindu): Ultimate principle of all things, cosmic or natural law; behaviour or duty in keeping with this.

Dhikir (Arabic): Sufi practice involving the remembrance or recollection of God.

Dhobi, Dhobi-Wallah (Indian): Man who washes clothes.

Dhuwa: Name for one of the two complementary social and religious categories (moieties) in Central and Eastern Arnhem land (Australia) - see also Yirritja.

Diaper (American): Nappy.

Diaspora (Jewish): Jews or Jewish communities living outside of Israel; dispersion of Jews in ancient times.

Didgeridoo: An Aboriginal droning wind instrument with a long wooden tube.



Digger: An Australian soldier.



Digging Stick: Long wooden stick used by Aboriginal women to gather root vegetables.

Ceremonial Digging Stick.

Ding Dong (Graffiti Term): Stainless-steel (R-46)subway car, so named for the bell that rings alerting passengers of closing doors.

Di Sotto In Su: (Italian: “with beneath made above”). Perpendicular to the picture plane.



Doge: Chief magistrates of the old Republic of Venice and Genoa.

Doice far Niente (Italian): Enjoyable idleness.

Dolce Vita (Italian): The good life.

Dom: Title given to Roman Catholic monks of certain orders, especially Benedictines.

Dominie (Scottish): Schoolmaster.

Doolie (Indian): Stretcher or otter for carrying a person or goods.

Donga (South African): Wet or dry gully.

Dope (Graffiti Term): Excellent, of the highest order.

Doppelgänger (German): Ghostly double.

Dorp (South African): Village or small country town.

Down (Graffiti Term): Part of a group or action.

Dragon {long龙} (Chinese Symbol): The Chinese dragon is the ultimate symbol of the cosmic energy qi 气 and the most powerful symbol of good fortune. Ranked first among mythical beasts, it can bring rain to parched lands, which in turn represents abundance and relief. A dragon and phoenix (king of all winged creatures) symbolise the emperor and empress as well as marital bliss. The dragon is often used as an emblem of high rank and power on the robes of emperors and princes as well as on imperial art objects.



Drapes (American): Curtains.

Dreaming: Term commonly used in Aboriginal Australia to refer to Aboriginal cosmology, encompassing the creator and ancestral beings, the law of religious and social behaviour, the land, the spiritual forces which sustain life and the narratives, which concerns these (also called the Dreamtime (aboriginal - alcheringa).

Drift (South African): Ford across a river.

Drongo: An Australian term for being a fool, or being clumsy or being worthless.



Dropsy (Graffiti Term): A bribe.

Droshky (Russian): Open horse-drawn carriage.

Druggist (American): Chemist, pharmacist.

Druses: Lebanon: Followers of a sect based on Islam, founded in the 11th Century by Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah.

Dryad, Hamadryad: Wood nymph of classical mythology.

Drywall: Plaster substitute such as plasterboard.

DT (Graffiti Term): Plain cloths police officer or detective.

Duce: Leader or ruler in Italy.

Duma (Russian): Pre-revolutionary parliament.

Dun: An old term derived from a Celtic language. Referred to animal colorings of dull, indefinite tones.

13th Century Medieval Gown.

Dunkers: German-American Baptist sect opposed to military service and the taking of oaths.

Dupun: An Australian Aboriginal Yolngu term for the hollow-log coffin.

Dupun by Bandinga at Aboriginal Art.

Durbar (Indian): State reception; reception hall of an Indian prince.

Durrmu: Vibrant patterns found in nature and made in painting (in the Murrinh-Patha language spoken in the Wadeye Region of Australia by Australian Aboriginals).

Durrmu Arts group exhibition with Tunbridge Gallery Subiaco (Western Australia).

Dybbuk (Jewish): In folklore, evil spirit that enters and controls the body.

Ealdorman/Alderman: Anglo-Saxon noble, or chief officer of a shire.

Echidna: An Australian burrowing, egg-laying mammal, a spiny ant-eater.



Ecorche: Sculpture of a human or animal without skin, usually for use in teaching anatomy to sculpture students.

Eaton-Houdon Ecorche.

Edo (1615-1867): (i) The Tokugawa family of Shoguns kept an iron grip on the country, and tried to keep out foreign influences, and freeze the feudal social structure, but under the surface slow change occurred, with the declining influence of the samurai and the rise of chonin. In the peace, a thriving popular culture grew up, with theatre, woodblock prints, and other popular art forms; (ii) The old name (literally, "bay door", or "entrance of the bay") for Tōkyō. Originally a small, obscure fishing village, it was put on the path to fame when Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, chose it as his headquarters in 1590, after he was given control of the Kantō. It rapidly grew, in part because of Ieyasu's policy of requiring all his vassal daimyōto spend half their time in Edo, away from their fiefs. By 1721 it had over 1,000,000 inhabitants, making it the largest city in the world at that point. It was also the incubator of a vibrant urban culture, that of the chōnin.

Eight {ba 八} (Chinese Symbol): Ba 八 for ‘eight’ is pronounced similarly to fa 发 for ‘to expand’, as in ‘to expand in wealth’ (facai发财). Due to this connection, people like to include the number eight in items such as telephone numbers, street addresses and car registration plates as they believe it will bring good fortune.

Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism (Chinese Symbol): The ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’ (bajixiang 八吉祥), introduced to China with Tibetan Buddhism during the Yuan dynasty (AD1279-1368), are the wheel of the dharma, conch shell, victory banner, parasol, lotus flower, treasure vase, fish pair and the endless knot.



Eight Immortals {baxian 八仙} (Chinese Symbol): The Eight immortals (Zhongli Quan, Zhang Guolao, Lü Dongbin, Cao Guojiu, Li Tieguai, Han Xiangzi, Lan Caihe and He Xiangu) are legendary beings of Daoism, said to have lived at various times and attained immortality through their studies of nature’s secrets. The Eight Immortals each represent a different condition in life: poverty, wealth, aristocracy, plebeianism, age, youth, masculinity, and femininity. They are popular in Chinese art as altogether they symbolise prosperity and longevity.

Elector: German Prince who took part in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor.

éminence guise (French): Influential person behind the scenes.

Emir (Islam): Muslim prince, chieftain, governor, or head of state.

Empiricism: Doctrine that knowledge can only be gained through sense perception and experience.

Emu: An Australian large flightless bird.



Encyclical: Letter sent by the Pope to bishops in all countries.

Endless Knot (Chinese Religious Symbol): Longevity, eternity. It is one of the eight auspicious symbols.


enfant terrible (French): Provokingly unconventional person.

en passant (French): By the way.

Entablature: The portion of a classical building façade between its column capitals and its roof; it contains the architrave, frieze, and cornice.



Entasis: A slight convexity or swelling in the shaft of a classical column; it counteracts the optical effect whereby perfectly straight columns seem to be narrower in the center.



entente cordiale (French): Informal friendly understanding person.

entre nous (French): Between ourselves.

Epiclesis: Prayer in a Mass calling on the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

Epicureanism: Ancient Greek teaching that good was pleasure and evil was pain.

Epistemology: Study of nature and the origin of knowledge.

Ersatz (German): Artificial.

esprit de corps (French): Group spirit, morale.

Ethics: Philosophy or morals and moral choices.

Eucalyptus: An Australian gum tree.

Eucalyptus Tree.

Eupatrid: Noble of ancient Athens.

Existentialism: Philosophical doctrine that man has complete free will but no given essence, and has define himself by his choices in a world without ultimate moral values.

ex gratia (Latin): "Out of goodness": referring to a payment made as a favour, not an obligation.

ex lib's (Latin): "From the books": phrase used before the owner's name on bookplates.

Extreme Unction, Sacrament of the Sick: Ceremony in which a priest anoints and prays for a very ill or dying person.

Fabianism: Political doctrine favouring gradual, non-confrontational social progress and change.

Fade (Graffiti Term): Graduation of colors.

fait accompli (French): Irreversible fact.

Fafnir: Dragon slain by Siegfried, in German mythology.

Fakir, Sadhu (Hindu): Wandering religious ascetic or preacher.

Families (Graffiti Term): Rows of throw-ups of the same name.

Fasces: Bundle of rods tied round the handle of an axe, carried before Roman magistrates as a symbol of authority.

Fatalism: Doctrine that everything is predestined, as by fate, and that human will and action are powerless to affect events.

Fatiha: Standard prayer and declaration of faith in Islamic worship.

Fatimids (Dynasty): North African, 10th - 12th Century.

Faucet (American): Tap.

faute de mieux (French): For want of anything better.

faux pas (French): Blunder.

felo de se (Latin): "Felon of himself": suicide.

Fender (American): Wing of a car.

festina lent (Latin): "Hasten slowly": more haste, less speed.

Fiesta (Spanish): Holiday, religious festival, or saint's day.

Fill In (Graffiti Term): The base colors of a piece, falling within the outline.

Fish {yu鱼} (Chinese Symbol): The fish symbolises wealth as yu for ‘fish’ sounds like the yu 馀 for ‘abundance and affluence’. It is also a sign of rank and a permit to enter the court precinct; consequently officials of the fifth rank and above wore fish ornaments during the Tang dynasty (AD 618-906). Due to its reproductive success the fish also signifies marriage and the birth of many children.

Five {wu 五} (Chinese Symbol): The number five is a very auspicious number and associated with the Five Elements (wuxing 五行) of water (shui 水), fire (huo 火), wood (mu 木), metal (jin 金) and earth (tu 土) which are essential for a good life. The wuxing are one of the basic organisational principles in Chinese thought, which is why the number five appears ubiquitously as in the Five Blessings, Five Classics or the Five Metals.

Flashlight (American): Battery-operated torch.

Flats (Graffiti Term): Painted steel subway cars with flat surfaces. (The preferred subway cars of old school writers. During the 1970s the IRT division was composed exclusively of flats).

Floaters (Graffiti Term): Throw-ups done on subway car panels at window level.

Forum: Roman marketplace, public square and place for political assembly.

Four {si 四} (Chinese Symbol): The number four (si 四) is considered unlucky by most Chinese people since it has the same pronunciation as si 死, death. Businesses and house numbers often avoid using four in numerical sequences and hotels in China are often missing a fourth floor.

Franconian/Salian (Dynasty): German, 11th - 12th Century.

Freights (Graffiti Term): Railroad freight cars.

French Chalk: Talc is commonly sold under this name. It is neither precipitated chalk nor Paris white as its name suggests by its confusing name.



Frisee: Like a file except that the metal thread is twisted instead of flat.

Frottis (French): Glaze.

Fugleman: Political leader; formerly a leader or demonstrator in military drill.

Führer: Leader or dictator in Germany.

Furies, Eumenides, Erinyes: Three winged goddesses of classical mythology, with serpents for hair, who punish evil-doers.

Furlough (American): Leave of absence, as from military duty.

Furigana (Japanese): Hiragana characters written next to a kanji character to indicate the correct reading for that character.

Furphy: Australian term for an unfounded rumor.

Futhark: Alphabet of runes.

Futon (Japanese): Padded mattress laid on the floor, used as a bed.

Gaeltacht (Irish): Region where Gaelic is usually spoken.

Gaekwar: Prince of former Indian State of Baroda.

Galah: An Australian term for fool, as well as, a dance. It is also the name for a pink and grey cockatoo.



Gang (Scottish): Go.

Garda (Irish): The police force.

Garuda: A mythical bird of Indonesia; symbol of heaven.



Gastarbeiter (German): Immigrant worker.

Gasthof (German): Hotel.

Gauleiter (German): Nazi district governor; petty tyrant.

Geisha (Japanese): Literally, "art person"; female performers who specialize in entertaining and providing companionship to men at dinner parties and similar venues. They are skilled in classic Japanese arts such as music (especially the playing of the stringed samisen), poetry and calligraphy. They first appeared at the start of the Edo period, as an off-shoot of the group of highest-class courtesans.

Gemütlich (German): Comfortable; snug.

genius loci (Latin): "Spirit of the place": atmosphere of the place and its influence on visitors.

Geodesic: Word invented by R. Buckminister Fuller to describe his basically hemispherical domes, which rely for strength on the geometric grid of thin, straight members in tension and compression; sixty carbon atoms arranged as hexagons and pentagons – similar to a soccer ball – have been named after him and so are one of a family of “fullerines”.

Geodesic Dome.

Gesundheit (German): Bless you!

Geta (Japanese): Wooden sandal.

Getting Over (Graffiti Term): Succeeding.

Getting Up (Graffiti Term): When proliferation of name has led to high visibility.

Gharry (Indian): Small horse-drawn carriage.

Ghat (Indian): Mountain pass; flight of steps down to a river.

Ghazi (Islam): Muslim warrior fighting against infidels in former times.

Ghee (Indian): Clarified butter, as from buffalo milk, used in Indian cooking.

Gigantes: Giants with a man's torso, and legs in the form of serpents, defeated by the gods and Hercules.

Gillie (Scottish): Attendant of a hunter or angler.

Glagolitic: Early Slavonic alphabet.

Glaikit (Scottish): Stupid, bemused.

Glaor (Islam): Infidel, non-Muslim, especially a Christian referred to by the Turks.

Glasnost (Russian): Policy of "openness" in government.

Gloria: Prayer of praise in Christian worship.

Glory Box: An Australian term for a bottom drawer as well as a trunk for a trousseau.



Gnostics: Early Christian sect believing that salvation was attainable only by the few with a special knowledge of God.

Gō: The 'art name'; a pseudonym, similar to a pen-name in the West, used by an artist. An artist will often have several different gō over the course of a career. They are often passed down in a school, from the old head to the new head.

Goanna (Australian): Monitor lizard.

Going Over (Graffiti Term): Writing over another writers name. It is the ultimate act of disrespect.

Gogga (South African): Insect, creepy-crawly.

Golem (Jewish): In folklore, man-made human figure brought to life.

Gombeen-man (Irish): Village money-lender.

Gorgons: Winged female creatures of classical mythology, having serpents as hair.

Gospodin (Russian): Title used as a polite form of address to foreign men.

Gossoon (Irish): Young lad.

Goy (Jewish): Gentile, non-Jew.

Graf: German, Austrian or Swedish Count.

Graffiti Vandalism (Graffiti Term): Unsolicited, relatively ephemeral markings on public or private property. The word graffiti comes from the Italian graffio meaning ‘to scratch’.

Gräfin: German, Austrian or Swedish Countess.

Grandee: Spanish or Portuguese nobleman.

Gran Turismo (Italian): High performance touring car.

Greet (Scottish): Weep.

Griffin/Gryphon: Creature of classical mythology having an eagle's head and wings, and a lion's body.

Gringsing: A fish-scale motif which patterns the background of Indonesian batiks.

Gringsing Fabric.

Guberniya (Russian): Administrative division or region.

Gulag (Russian): Forced-labor camp.

Gunyah: An Australian Aboriginal word for shelter, hut, typically made from branches and bark.



Guardia Civil (Spanish): Nation police force.

Guru (Hindu): Spiritual teacher or leader.

Gwion, Gwion: The Ngarinyin name for dynamic, naturalistic human figures painted on rock walls in the Kimberly (Australia). Previously known as the "Bradshaw figures" after the anglo-saxon explorer Captain Joseph Bradshaw, who recorded these Aboriginal paintings in 1892.

Jemma Unghango / Gwion Gwion Rock Art.

Gyōsho (Japanese): Literally, "running writing"; a slightly 'free' form of kanji characters, found in hand-written material. Individual strokes may be connected (to avoid lifting the brush from the paper), simplified forms of component radicals may be used, etc.

Habsburg/Hapsburg (Dynasty): Holy Roman Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 13th - 20th Century.

Hacienda (Spanish):Ranch or ranch-house.

Hadith (Arabic): Body of tradition relating the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad and His companions.

Hadj (Islam): Pilgrimage to Mecca, undertaken as a religious duty.

Hadji (Islam): Person who has made hadj.

Haere Mai (Maori): "Welcome!"

Hafiz (Islam): Muslim who knows the Koran by heart.

Hagiography: The writing of Saints’ lives.



Haiku (Japanese): A short poem in seventeen syllables, usually arranged in three 5-7-5 syllable phrases; they often attempt to capture a mood or a feeling. They are a relatively late form of tanka form became overly formalized.

Haiku (Japanese): Poem with 17 syllables.

Haka (Maori): War dance accompany by chanting.

Hakim (Islam): Ruler, governor or judge.

Halal (Islam): To kill animals in accordance with Muslim law; meat from such animals.

Han Chinese: Indigenous peoples of China.



Hand Style (Graffiti Term): Handwriting or tagging style.

Han (Dynasty): Chinese, 3rd Century BC to 3rd Century AD.

Hanoverian (Dynasty): German-British, 17th - 20th Century.

Happening: A quasi-theatrical event staged or contrived in non-repeatable form, employing people, places and objects to make a visual sculptural satirical statement.



Hara-Kiri, Seppuku (Japanese): Ritual suicide by disembowelling.

Harijan (Hindu): Lower-class Hindu, an "untouchable", technically outside of the caste system.

Harpies: Ravenous, slimy monsters of classical mythology, having women's heads and bird's bodies.

Haruspex: Roman persist who foretold the future by examining animal entrails.

Haudramaut: Located in Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula.

Hausfrau (German): Housewife.

haute couture (French): High fashion.

Head Buff Spot (Graffiti Term): The portion of wall panels of the subway car interior above the seats located at passenger's head level. The mild though frequent abrasion from passengers heads eventually buffs (removes) tags on these locations.(It is an undesirable location to tag.)

Hedonic: Pertaining to pleasure; art created to generate agreeable sensations.

Hedonism: Belief that pleasure is the basic principle or chief good in life, and underlies morality or determines one's action.

Hegira (Islam): Te Muslim era, dating from AD 622; Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina in that year.

Heian (794-1185; Japanese Period): The indigenous Japanese culture reappeared, whilst on the political scene, the Emperors, now living in Heian-Kyō (now known as Kyōto) became cloistered figureheads, and the court turned to refinement and sophistication; the aristocratic Fujiwara clan ran the country.

Hellenic: Of or relating to Greece.

Hellenism: Greek civilization.

Henry Shots (Graffiti Term): Photographic technique developed by Henry Chalfant. The camera remains in one spot with automatic film advance while the subject (train) moves. The end result is a straight forward single image built from several frames providing more detail. Though the term is used infrequently the technique has become one of the standards for photo documentation of trains.

Hentaigana (Japanese): Literally, "variant kana"; kana other than those used in hiragana and katakana. Hiragana and katakana were only fully standardized in 1900; before that, a large number of kana, simplified forms derived from man'yōgana kanji, were extant. Those not selected for use in the standard hiragana and katakana are now called hentaigana. They include both kanawhich derive from alternative man'yōgana characters for particular sounds, and others which are merely written in different styles of cursive writing.

Herrenvolk (German): Master race.

Hibachi (Japanese) Portable charcoal grill.

Hidalgo: Spanish nobleman of minor rank.

Hieroglyph: An element of language recorded in the form of a pictogram or symbol rather than as a written word.



Hieroglyphics: Ancient Egyptian picture writing.

Hinduism: India: Traditional religion of the greater part of the Indian subcontinent.

Hippocampus: Sea horse with a horse's forelegs and the tail of a fish or dolphin, ridden by Neptune.

Hippogriff/Hippogryph: Creature of classical mythology having the head, claws, and wings of a griffin and the body of a horse.

Hiragana (Japanese): Characters of the Japanese syllabary (i.e. consonant/vowel pairs) used to write Japanese; derived from sōsho forms of selected kanji, and used for writing quickly.

Historicism: Doctrine that history is governed by the inevitable processes; theory that a past age should be judged on its own terms rather than by modern values.

HIT (Graffiti Term): A tag, throw-up or piece in the act of writing.

Hogan (American Indian): Navaho cabin of logs and mud.

Hohenstaufen (Dynasty): German, 12th - 13th Century.

Hohenzollern (Dynasty): Brandenburg - Prussian, 15th - 20th Century.

Hollow-Log Coffin: Coffin made from a prepared and painted hollow log used in Aboriginal reburial ceremonies in Arnhem land (Australia).

Hood (American): Bonnet (of a car).

Hope Chest (American): Bottom drawer, trunk for trousseau.

hors de comet (French): Out of action.

Host/Eucharistic Host: Wafer consecrated and consumed during Mass.

Hosteria (Spanish): Restaurant.

Hot (Graffiti Term): Synonymous with the term "Toy".

Houri (Islam): Nymph or virgin attending the blessed in Paradise.

Huguenots: French Protestants of the 16th and 17th Century.

Humanism: Belief that the basic principle of morality is the well-being of man, and in this life rather than the next.

Hussites: Followers of the 14th to 15th Century Bohemian reformer John Huss.

Hydra: Nine-headed water snake, which sprouted two heads where one was struck off.

Hyksos (Dynasty): Egyptian, 17th - 16th Century BC.

Idealism: Believe that the true reality lies beyond the observable world; theory that consciousness or reason is the true reality, or the only thing really knowable.

idée reçue (French): Conventional opinion.

ideogram: Character which symbolizes an idea by representing an associated object, but does not express sounds of its name; many Chinese characters are ideograms.



Ideography: System of symbolic characters to represent entire words or ideas, as in Chinese.

Ides: 13th or 15th Day of the Roman month.

Ihram (Islam): White robes worn by pilgrims to Mecca.

Ikibana (Japanese): At of flower arranging.

Illuminati: !6th Century Spanish sect claiming special religious enlightenment.

Imam (Islam): (i) Prayer leader in a mosque; scholar or legal expert; ruler; caliph; Shiite leader considered to be a divinely appointed successor of Muhammad.

IND (Graffiti Term): NYC subway division called the Independent. Includes A, B, C, D, E, F, GG subway lines.

Indaha (South African): Meeting or conference, as of headman.

Index, Librorum Prohibitorum/Index: Formerly an official list of books banned by theRoman Catholic Church.

Indigenous: Native to a region or locale; naturally produced or born in a specific place.

IND (Graffiti Term): NYC subway division called the Independent. Includes A, B, C, D, E, F, GG subway lines.

indulgence: Reduction in or cancellation of the punishment, especially in purgatory, for a sin, after it has been forgiven.

Infallibility: Principle of the Pope's unfailingly correct judgement in matter of faith and morals, accepted by the First Vatican Council, in 1870.

Infanta (Spanish): Princess.

infra dig, infra dignitatem (Latin): Beneath one's dignity.

in loco parentis (Latin): "In the place of a parent": having the responsibilities or role of a parent.

in medias res (Latin): "Into the middle of things": the way a story or play might begin.

in propria persona (Latin): In person, personally.

Inro (Japanese): Lacquared box for carrying medicine, fastened to the belt by netsuke.

Insides (Graffiti Term): Subway car interiors.

Installment Plan (American): Hire purchase.

Instrumentalism: Doctrine that the value of ideas lies not in their correctness, but in their practical success.

inter alia (Latin): Among other things.

Intercalary Month (Japanese): Prior to the Meiji Restoration, Japan used a lunar-solar calendar, which was not well aligned to the solar year, and tended to quickly drift out of synchronization with it. To fix this, periodically (approximately every three years or so) an extra month was interpolated to bring it back into phase. Such months are designated as intercalary months (uruu), and are given the same number as the previous lunar month. So, when there are two 'fifth months', the first one is just 'fifth month', but the following intercalary month is called 'uruu fifth month'.

Intercession: Prayer to God on behalf on another.

Intern: Junior hospital doctor.

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA): Standard set of letters or symbols, as used in dictionaries, to represent the sounds of all languages.

in toto (Latin): Completely as a whole; totally.

Invent (Graffiti Term): Shoplifting or stealing. This term was used prior to 1974. The contemporary term is RACK.

Invocation: Prayer asking for God's help.

ipso facto (Latin): "By that fact": as an immediate consequence of that fact or act.

IRT (Graffiti Term): NYC subway division called Interborough Rapid Transit. Includes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 subway lines.

Ismaili (Islam): Small Shiite sect, led by the Aga Khan; member of this sect.

Islam: Middle and Far Eastern religion founded by the 7th Century prophet Muhammad.

Izvestia (Russian): "News", used as a title of a newspaper.

Jafr (Arabic): The esoteric science of letters and numbers.

Jainism: Nothern India: Religion developed from Hinduism by "Jinas" or "conquerors" such as Mahavira, a 6th Century BC sage.

Jamb: The edge of a door or window opening.

Jawi (Indonesia): Malay written in Arabic script with six additional letters.

Jelly (American): Jam.

je ne sais quoi (French): An indéniable but distinctive quality.

Jesse Tree: Tree illustrating Christ’s descent from Jesse.



jeu d'esprit (French): Witty comment.

jeunesse dorée (French): Wealthy, fashionable young people.

Jehovah's Witness: Sect founded in 1879, active in missionary work, whose dedication to the bible can entail opposition to organized religion and government authority.

Ji-gō (Japanese): Literally, 'temple name', the second of the two names which Asian Buddhist temples usually have, along with a sangō. The jigō may be drawn from sacred personages in the Buddhist pantheon, the names of important religious works, significant doctrinal terms, and also sources like local legends and traditions, and the names of historical people who were their founders or benefactors, or to whose memory they are dedicated.

jihad (Islam): Holy war or crusade, waged as a religious duty.

Jin (Arabic): Invisible spirit beings that can be good or bad and created from fire by Allah.

Jisei (Japanese): The 'death poem', also called zeppitsu (literally, "final brushstrokes") was a common part of death in Japan. They were usually the dying person's own words, not a quotation, and usually tried to encapsulate his thoughts at the moment of death; they often attempt to sum up the writer's life, or give his insight into the meaning of life, as the writer departs it. Written as they were with all of someone's remaining energy, the ones we still have sometimes show astonishing calligraphy and insights.

Jo (Scottish): Sweetheart.

joie de vivre (French): High spirits.

Jougs (Scottish): Iron collar for punishing offenders.

Judaism: Israel and world-wide: the religion of the Jewish people.

Juggernaut (Hindu): Form of the god Krishna, or an idol of him drawn on a huge wagon at an annual festival.

Jujitsu (Japanese): Art of unarmed self-defence from which judo developed.

Jukurrpa: Dreaming (in Warlpiri, one of the Aboriginal languages spoken in the Western Desert, Australia).



Juma (Islam): Islamic Sabbath, fasting on Friday.

Junker (German): Reactionary Prussian aristocrat.

Jurisprudence: Philosophy of law.

Juz'(Arabic): Thirtieth part of the Qur'an.

Kaaba (Islam): Shrine in Mecca, the goal of Muslim pilgrimage, towards which Muslim turn in praying.

Ka'bah (Arabic): Scared cube-shaped structure located in the precincts of the Great Mosque of Mekkah and adorned with a brocaded black cloth. It is the focus of prayer and pilgrimage in Islam.

Kabaka: Former ruler of the Baganda people of Uganda.

Kabuki (Japanese): The popular theatre (as opposed to the more aristrocratic Noh theatre), which uses elements of dance and music as well as acting. Hence kabuki-ga, theatre images, also a classic original woodblock form. Kabuki was started around the time of the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate. After brief spells using female and boy actors, both banned by the Shogunate because of morality issues, the Kabuki theatre switched to using male actors. They appear in painted faces, unlike the masks of the Noh theatre.

Kaddish (Jewish): Ancient prayer praising God, recited especially by those in mourning.

Kago (Japanese): A palanquin for an individual, much used in Japan during the Edo period for travel by high-status people. It had a single crossbeam, and was carried by two porters; the sides could be left open, or closed for privacy.

Kaiser (German): Emperor.

Kaisho (Japanese): Literally, "correct writing"; the standard form of kanji characters. Also, the form used in printed materials, etc.

Khalif (Arabic): Caliph or leader.

Kakihan (Japanese): Literally, "hand-written seal"; a pseudo-character used by an artist or crafstman as a signature; often highly cursive, as opposed to normal Japanese characters, which are made up of a number of strokes.

Kamakura (1185-1333; Japanese Period): A struggle for power between the two chief clans, the Taira and the Minamoto, ended with the victory of the Minamoto. They made their capital at Kamakura (on the coast of Sagami Bay, immediately to the south-west of Tōkyō Bay), and introduced the office of Shogun. However, power soon fell into the hands of the Hōjō clan, a branch of the Taira who had allied themselves with the Minamoto. Two attempted invasions by the Mongols were driven off; Zen Buddhism appeared in Japan, as well as tea-drinking.

Kamasutra (Hindu): Ancient text on erotic love.

Kami (Japanese): Spirits; the central objects of worship in the indigenous Shinto; religion. A wide range of entities can be or have kami: major independent personified entities (similar to Graeco-Roman gods); natural objects such as trees, rivers, rocks, etc; ancestral spirits; natural forces, such as weather, but also growth, fertility, etc. This probably reflects the develoment of Shinto, which seems to have first evolved in regional folk religions, before being unified later.

Kamigata (Japanese): The region encompassing Kyōto and the nearby Ōsaka; this area was the heart of Japan, both culturally and economically, until the Tokugawa Shoguns chose Edo as their ruling center. Many of the chōnin cultural components, such as kabuki theatre and ukiyo-e actually originated in the Kamigata area, before being transmitted to Edo.

Kamikaze (Japanese): Suicide pilot or plane ofSecond World War.

Kana: Either of two Japanese syllabic scripts, hiragana and katakana.

Kanji (Japanese): Literally, "Chinese character" (from "Han" for Chinese); the original characters used to write Japanese, they are derived from Chinese originals, and usually very similar (if not identical) to them.

Kansai (Japanese): A larger area around the Kamigata; it also includes the port city of Kobe (still a prominent port), and the Kii peninsula, containing the ancient capital of Nara, and Japan's most important Shinto shrine, the Ise Grand Shrine.

Kantō (Japanese): The largest flat area in Japan, it contains eight provinces centered on the city of Edo; it is rich alluvial lowland formed by the outfall of a number of rivers, and was the 'rice-basket' of Japan during the Edo period. The Kantō was somewhat isolated from the main center of Japan at the start of that period, the Kansai region, but quickly became Japan's center, a status it retains today.

Kaomise (Japanese): Literally, "face showing"; the opening performace of the Kabuki season, usually in the 10th or 11th month of the year.

Kapelmeister (German): Director of a choir or orchestra.

Kaput (German): Broken, out of order, useless.

Karma (Buddhist Term): Sum of a person's total actions, determining his/her destiny in future lives; broadly, fate or destiny.

Kaross (South African): Cloak of animal skin.

Kata (Chinese Term): A Buddhist ceremonial scarf.



Kata (Japanese): Originally, the basic forms in a martial art; it later came to mean an accepted way to present a particular well-known Kabuki theatre role. These were adopted by print artists, often with liberties which would interest and amuse the viewers.

Katakana (Japanese): Characters of a secondary Japanese syllabary (i.e. consonant/vowel pairs) used for a variety of secondary uses (e.g. writing foreign words); derived from selected kanji by extensive simplification, and made more compact.

Kelpie: Australian sheep dog breed.



Ken (Scottish): Know.

Kendo (Japanese): Fencing with bamboo poles or sticks.

Kern: Part of a piece of type sticking out to one side of a body so that it overlaps onto the adjacent piece. See diagram below.



Keystone: The wedge shaped stone in the center of a masonry arch.



Keyword Index (Keyword-from-title Index): One of the significant word or words in the title of a written work by which it may be identified for retrieval, especially from computer memory store.

Khan/Cham: Medieval emperor or ruler in China or central Asia.

Khedive: Viceroy in Egypt during the period of Ottoman control.

Kia-ora (Maori): "Good Luck", "good health"; a greeting.

Kibitka (Russian): Covered cart or sled.

Kill (Graffiti Term): To bomb excessively.

Kimono (Japanese): Long loose robe secured with a wide sash.

King (Graffiti Term): The most accomplished writer in a given category.

Kirda: Among the Walpiri and related Australian Aboriginal desert groups, those with primary, usually patrilineally inherited rights in ceremonies, Dreamings, designs and so on -see kurdanguris.

The 'kirda' (owners) for this Dreaming are Jungarrayi/Japaljarri men and Nungarrayi/Napaljarri women.

Kit, Kite (Maori): Basket, usually of woven flax.

Kitsch (German): Bad taste, or sentimentality in the arts.

Kiwame (Japanese): Literally, "approved"; a character found in many censor seals.

Kloof (South African): Deep raving.

Kolkhoz (Russian): Collective farm.

Kol Nidre: Prayer on the eve of Yom Kipper, the Jewish day of Atonement.

Komsomol (Russian): Communist youth organisation.

Knobkerrie (South African): Short club with a knobbed end.

Kookaburra/Laughing Jackass: Australian raucous kingfisher.



Koori: Generic term for the Aboriginal people of the Southern Eastern part of Australia- see also Murri, Nunga, Nyoongar.



Kopeck/kopek (Russian): Smallest unit of Russian currency.

Koppie (South African): Small, prominent, isolated hill.

Koran/Alcoran/Qur'an: Muslim sacred book, containing Allah's revelations to Muhammad.

Kore: Plural: korae. Greek meaning: “girl”. A Greek statue of a girl or young woman.



Kosher (Jewish): Referring to the ritual pure food, prepared and served according to Jewish dietary laws.

Kouros: Plural: kouroi. A Greek statue of a boy or young man.



Kraken: Fiery, scaled, seven-headed sea serpent described in the Book of Job.

Kraal (South African): Fenced village of huts; cattle fold.

Krans (South African): Steep rock face.

Kraton (Javanese): Javanese palace.



Kremlin (Russian): (i) Citadel; (ii) Chief government building in Moscow - Soviet Government.

Krishna (Hindu): Main avatar or incarnation of the god Vishnu.

Kulak (Russian): Formerly, a prosperous peasant or usurer.

Kurfic: Early Arabic script or alphabet.

Kundoku (Japanese): Literally, "reading as Japanese"; kun, for short. A reading which is the Japanese word which has the original meaning of that character in Chinese.

Kurdungiurlu: Among the Walpiri and related Australian Aboriginal groups, those with secondary, usually matrilineally inherited rights in ceremonies, Dreamings, graphic designs and so on - see also kirda.

Kurrajong: An Australian evergreen tree.



Kuruwarri: Men's designs and ceremonies (in the Australian Aboriginal Walpiri language).



Kvass (Russian): Beer-like drink.

Kwertengerl: An Anmatymerr word (Australian Aboriginal) meaning the manager of ceremony; this aboriginal language is spoken by many artists in the Utopia region (Australia).

Gillen's photograph of 'Moolpoomoornicka' or 'Mulpumunika' at Charlotte Waters ca. 1890s.

Kyle (Scottish): Narrow sea channel.

Kyoka (Japanese): Literally, "crazy verse"; a playful poem in the 31-syllable tanka form. They were playful in the sense of light-heartedly breaking the formal classical rules used in conventional tanka, and most were actually somewhat serious in tone. The humor, if any, was more in puns and other kinds of word play, or in oblique parodies of classical poetry. They especially popular during the late eighteenth century, and among the artistic set. Kyoka verses are often included in prints, especially in surimono.

Kyōto (Japanese): Kyōto (literally, "capital city") was for almost eleven centuries the Imperial capital of Japan, where the Emperor of Japan resided. It was founded in 794, when the capital was moved from the original location of Nara, via Nagaoka, in order to escape the influence of militant Buddhist sects. Originally named Heian-kyō (literally, "tranquility and peace capital"), from which is derived the name of the Heian period, it was renamed Kyōto in the 11th century. Largely untouched during World War II, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with many beautiful original temples and palaces.

Kyrie eleison: "Lord have merci", prayer, often sung in Christian worship.

Laager (South African): Encampment protect by a circle of wagons.

laissez-passer (French): Entry permit, pass.

Lakh (Indian): Hundred thousand, especially when referring to rupees.

Lama (Buddhist Term): Monk in Tibet or Mongolia.

Lamia: Creature of classical mythology having the head and breasts of a woman and the body of a serpent.

Lamaism (Chinese Term): Tibetan Buddhism as practiced in China.



Lancaster (Dynasty): English, 15th Century.

Landgrave: Medieval German Count.

Lantern: An open cylindrical construction which lets light into the top of a dome.

Lantern festival.

Laird (Scottish): Landowner, owner of a country estate.

Lallans (Scottish): Lowland dialect.

Lares and Penates: Household of Roman gods.

Larrikin: An affectionate Australian term for hooligan.



Lay Up (Graffiti Term): A single or double track where trains are parked during off-peak hours. Both tunnel and elevated lay-ups exist.

Lebensraum (German): Living space for an expanding population.

Lederhosen (German): Man's leather pants.

Legion: Basic Roman military unit, numbering 3000 to 6000 men.

Lekker (South African): Delicious; pleasing.

Lemures: Unfriendly Roman spirits of the dead.

Leprechaun (Irish): Mischievious elf.

Letter Lines (Graffiti Term): The IND and BMT divisions of The New York City Subway.

Leviathan: Fiery, scaled, seven-headed serpent described in the Book of Job.

Lictor: Roman official who carried the fasces.

Lied (German): Song for solo voice and piano.

Lilith: Biblical female demon living in deserted places said to assault children.

Limbo: Roman Catholic eternal home of the souls of the unbaptised infants, and of the just who died before the birth of Christ.

Linear A: Ancient Cretan script, still undeciphered.

Linear B: Ancient script used in Crete and mainland Greece, deciphered in 1952.

Lintel: The horizontal member of the post and lintel structural device supporting the weight above an opening in a wall such as a door or window etc.



Litany: Prayer in which the congregation's responses alternate with the leader's invocations.

Loc cit: abbr. loco citato, a Latin term for "in the place named", used as a reference in footnotes.

Logical Positivism: Doctrine that the only meaningful statement are either self-evident or scientifically confirmable, and that statements about unobservable things such as God or mental states are there meaningless.

Lollards: Followers of the 14th Century English reformer John Wycliffe.

Lorikeet: An Australian small, brightly colored parrot.

Rainbow Lorikeet - known as the Hell's Angels of Australian Bird Life.

Lotus {he 荷, lian 莲} (Chinese Symbol): The lotus is the flower of the sixth month and summer. It is a symbol of purity because it rises out of the mud to bloom. Lotus blossoms are often depicted as a throne for the Buddha, and the lotus is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism (ba jixiang 八吉祥).



Lubra: Australian aboriginal woman or wife.

Luftwaffe (German): German air force.

Lum (Scottish): Chimney.

Lupercalia: Fertility festival of the Roman god Lupercus celebrated in February.

Lyrebird: An Australian pheasant-like bird.

Macassans: Fisherman and traders from Suliwesi in Indonesia, who visited the northern shores of Australia until the early twentieth century trading with the Australian Aboriginals.



Machree/Mochree (Irish): "My heart"; a term of endearment.

magnum opus (Latin): "Great work": major work of a writer, composer or the like.

Mahabharata, Ramayana (Hindu): Ancient epic Sanskrit poems.

Maharishi (Hindu): Wise man or great spiritual leader.

Mahatma (Hindu): Person revered for his wisdom and virtue, specifically a Brahman sage.

Mahayana (Buddhist Term): Branch of Buddhism, as in Korea and Tibet, of a relatively liberal and evangelical kind.

Mahdi (Islam): Muslim messiah, and a leader claiming to be the messiah.

Mahi (Maori): Work.

Mahout (Indian): Keeper and driver of an elephant.

Maidan (Indian): Open space in or near a town; used for sports or displays.

Majapahit (Hindu) 1293 - ca. 1520: The last Hindu-Buddhist kingdom of Java and that was located in the eastern part of the island.

Makam (Indonesia): Grave or tomb complex, derived from the Persian word maqqam.

Makara (Chinese Religious Symbol): A hybrid sea creature, half dragon and half lion.



(The) Malle: Australian term for bush country.



Mameluke/Mamluk (Dynasty): Egyptian, 13th - 16th Century.

Mana (Maori): Magical power; charismatic personality.

Mañana (Spanish): Tomorrow, shortly.

Manes: Friendly Roman spirit of the dead; deified souls of ancestors.

Manchu (Chinese Term): The Manchurian people established the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911).

Manchu Soldier.

Mandala (Chinese Religious Symbol): A cosmic diagram used in esoteric Buddhist arts and practices.



Mandarin: Senior civil servant in Imperial China; any powerful and relatively independent official>

Mandir (Hindu): Hindu temple.

Manichaeism: Persia: religion based on the teachings of the 3rd Century leader Manes, similar to Mazdaism.

Mantra (Chinese Religious Term): A mystical formula recited in prayer.



Man'yōgana: Selected kanji historically used for phonetic representation of Japanese, when Japanese was first recorded in written form. Particular sounds can be represented by one of several kanji; the choice of which one to use was often made for stylistic or symbolic reasons.

Marabout (Islam): Muslim holy man in North Africas, or a shrine marking his grave.

Marae (Maori): Meeting-place.

Margrave: Lord of a German border province in former times.

Margravine: Wife of a margrave.

Maronites: Members of the ancient Uniat Church from Syria, now living mainly in Lebanon.

Marquis/Marquess: Nobleman ranking above an Earl but below a Duke.

Marquise/Marchioness: Wife of a Marquis.

Married Couple (Graffiti Term): Two subway cars permanently attached which share a motor. Identified by their consecutive numbers. These cars were desirable when art work on connected car was directly relevant.

Materialism: Doctrine that physical matter is the basic reality and that religious and supernatural beliefs are baseless; doctrine that history and social and economic changes have mechanical material causes.

Matins: First of seven canonical hours.

Matrioshka (Russian): Traditional set of hollow wooden dolls, encased one inside the other.
,br /> Matzo (Jewish): Unleavened bread, as eaten during Passover.

mauvais quart d'heure (French): Brief, nasty experience.

Maya (Hindu): Illusion; the world regarded as unreal or illusory.

Man'yōgana (Japanese): Selected kanji historically used for phonetic representation of Japanese, when Japanese was first recorded in written form. Particular sounds can be represented by one of several kanji; the choice of which one to use was often made for stylistic or symbolic reasons.

Mavourneen (Irish): "My darling".

Mazdaism, Zoroastrianism: Ancient Persia: religion based on the teaching of the 6th Century BC prophet Zoroaster, who regarded the world as a battleground between good and evil.

mea culpa (Latin): "My fault": acknowledging one's guilt.

Megaliths: Immense stones such as were used in Stonehenge.

Rano Raraku.

Meiji (1868-1912; Japanese Period): After the arrival of U.S. ships demanding the opening of Japan, in 1854, the power of the Shoguns, hollowed out over the centuries, fell in the Meiji Restoration of November, 1867. The Imperial system was restored, in league with a massive effort to modernize the country, during which the old feudal Japan all but disappeared almost overnight.

Melchites: Member of the Greek Catholic Church in the Middle East.

Menhir: A single, uncut, prehistoric megalith.

Mennonites: Pacifist Protestant sect arising from the Anabaptist movements.

Menora: Ceremonial seven-branched candelabrum, as used during the Festival of Chanukkah.

Merovingian (Dynasty): Frankish, 6th - 8th Century.

Menshevik (Russian): Moderate socialists, at the time of the Russian revolution.

Metaphysics: Study underlying principles and ultimate reality.

Metropolitan: Archbishop with authority over other bishops.

Mezuzah (Jewish): Tiny scroll of parchment inscribe with biblical passages and fixed to doorposts in the homes of observing Jews.

Mie: A tense pose struck by a Kabuki actor at a specific point in the action, often standardized as part of the kata of a given role.

Mihrab (Arabic): Arch, also refers to alcove in a mosque and placed on the wall facing Mekkah.

Menhir: A single, uncut, prehistoric megalith.

Menhir de Champ-Dolent.

Mihrab, Kiblah (Islam): Niche in the wall of a mosque, indicating the direction of Mecca towards which the faithful pray.

Mikado, Tenno (Japanese): Japanese Emperor, as referred to by foreigners.

Mimih: Aboriginal spirit figures that appear depicted on rock walls of Western Arnhem land (Australia) and Kakadu. Also refers to a style of Aboriginal painting which incorporates images of these spirits.



Minaret: The tall, slender tower attached to a mosque; it has one or more balconies from which the muezzin calls Muslim to prayer.

Great Mosque of Samarra.

Ming (Dynasty): Chinese, 14th - 17th Century.

Minnekastchen: Small love casket term used for northern European boxes decorated with scenes of courtly love, chivalric romance or similar themes.

17th Century Nuremberg brass Minnekastchen.

Minotaur: Eater of human flesh, half man half bull, confined to the Cretan Labyrinth and killed by Theseus.

Minyan (Jewish): Quorum of ten male Jews needed for a fully formal religious service.

Miny'tji: Painted Aboriginal clan patterns or design in Central and North-Eastern Arnhem land (Australia).

Details of Marranu Miny'tji.

Mir (Russian): Pre-revolutionary peasant community; the world; peace.

mirabile dictum (Latin): "Wonderful to relate": amazingly.

Miserere: Prayer for mercy, the 51st Psalm, in Christian worship.

Mithraism: Ancient Persia: worship of Mithras, god of light.

Mitzvah (Jewish): Command imposed by the scriptures; good deed.

Moccasin (American Indian): Soft leather shoe.

Mod (Scottish): Cultural festival.

modus operandi (Latin): "Way of living": compromise or living arrangement between people or parties of differing interest.

Mogul/Moghul/Mughal (Dynasty): Indian, 16th - 19th Century.

Moiety: One of a pair of complementary social and religious categories - see also Dhuwa and Yirritja.

Moko (Maori): Tatto pattern.

Momoyama (1568-1615; Japanese Period): Three successive warlords, Odo Nobunaga (assasinated 1582), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (died 1598) and Tokugawa Ieyasu (died 1616) re-unified the country, ending with the Tokugawa victory over the forces of Hideyoshi's successors at Osaka in 1615. Zen arts such as the tea ceremony, sumi-e (ink-painting) and garden design became popular.

Mon: The Japanese equivalent of family crests or coats-of-arms; almost always a circle with a design (which may be either purely geometric, or inspired by nature) inside.

Monophysites: Believers of the doctrine that Christ had only one nature, being purely divine rather than both human and divine.

Monsignor: Title or form of address for certain Roman Catholic church officials.

Moolvi (Islam): Title of respect, especially in India, for a Muslim scalar, teacher, or legal authority.

Moravians: Member of the Protestant Moravian Chirch founded by Hussites in 1722.

Morgan (South African): Former measure of land, about 2 acres.

Mormons: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, founded in the US in 1830, whose Book of Mormon supplements the Bible as official scripture.

Mortal Sin: Sin that is unpardonable, depriving the soul of God's grace.

Mortician (American): Undertaker, funeral director.

Mosque, Masjid (Islam): House of worship.

Motion Tagging (Graffiti Term): Writing on subway cars while they are in service. Also referred to as MOTIONING.

mot juste (French): The exactly appropriate expression.

Monumentality: The combined quality of dignity, grandeur, and impressiveness, especially in architecture and sculpture, regardless of actual size.

Modern Monumentality.

Mozarabs: Spanish who continue to practice modified Christianity under Muslim rule.

MTA (Graffiti Term): (i) Metropolitan Transit Authority Includes BMT, IND and IRT subway divisions as well as surface transit divisions; (ii) Mad Transit Artists Bronx crew from the late 1970s led by CHINO MALO and REE aka OPEL.

Mudra (Hindu): Set of ritual hand movements and body postures used in sacred dancing.

Muezzin (Islam): Official who summons the faithful to pray at five fixed time every day, from the minaret or door of the mosque.

Mufti (Islam): Expert in and advisor on the law of the Koran; community leader during the Ottoman Empire.

Mullah (Islam): Scholar or teacher of the holy war.

Muromachi (1333-1568; Japanese Period): The Kamakura Shogunate, weakened by the invasion of the Mongols, fell to a restored Imperial rule; eventually, the Ashikaga family, a branch of the Minamoto, took over and established another Shogunate, although it was never as powerful as the preceding one. Feuding led to the creation of two competing Imperial courts (1336-1392), and later the internecine Onin Wars (1467-1477); these were followed by the even more devastating wars of the Sengoku Period (1477-1573). Toward the end of this period, the first Europeans arrived, and introduced Christianity.

Murri: Generic term for the Aboriginal people of Queensland and northern parts of NSW (Australia).

Muzhik/Moujik (Russian): Pre-revolutionary peasant.

Naartjie (South African): Tangerine or mandarine orange.

Naiad: Freshwater nymph of classical mythology.

Nanushi (Japanese): Literally, "mayor" (of a village or town); the name for a group of censors who examined woodblock prints in the period 1842-1853.

Nara (710-794; Japanese Period): Veneration of the Guatama Buddha was the lodestar of Japanese culture, and imitation of the Chinese was rampant, including the capital city of Japan at Nara, south of Kyōto, modeled after the Chinese capital of T'ang China, Sian.

Nasrid (Dynasty): Moorish (Granada), 13th - 15th Century.

Naskh (Arabic): Style of calligraphy, generally accepted form for writing the Qur'an and secular Arabic and Turkish texts.

Nusantara (Indonesia): Literally 'among the islands' referring to the Indonesian archipelago.

Nautch (Indian): Danced performed by girls.

Nave: The central part of the church used by congregants, running from the main entrance to the altar; usually flanked by side aisles and bordered by piers and columns.



Nawab (Indian): Governor of a province or State under the Mogul Empire.

Nengō (Japanese): Literally, "year name", the name associated with the rule of a particular Emperor of Japan. Shortly after a new Emperor assumes the throne, an official name is chosen for his reign, one with auspicious overtones. These reign names are nengō, are also used to name eras in Japanese history (but see the next entry). When an Emperor dies, his nengō becomes his official posthumous name. Thus, the Emperor Hirohito (reigned 1926-1989) is now known as the Emperor Showa (literally, "Enlightenment and Harmony"). Previously, the nengō were selected by the Imperial court; starting with the reign name of Hirohito's son Akihito, Heisei (literally, "Achieving Peace"), they are selected by the government.

Nenkan (Japanese): Literally, "year period"; an alternative term used for eras within a given reign. Prior to the Meiji Restoration, Emperors would sometimes assume a different nengō during their reign to commemorate some notable event; while technically they are nengō, they are often referred to as nenkan (roughly "era", but they refer to a fixed period). A new era name was often designated on certain astrologically auspicious years, but they might also be adopted due to felicitous events, or natural disasters. After the Meiji Restoration, a "one reign, one era name" system was adopted, and era names now only change on an Imperial succession.

Neolithic: Also Stone Age; starting about 10,000 or 8,000 B.C.; beginnings of settled living; farming, animal husbandry, spinning, weaving and fired pottery.

Neolithic burial chamber at Pentre Ifan, Pembrokeshire.

ne plus ultra (Latin): "No more beyond": the limit; perfection.

Nereid: Sea nymph of classical mythology.

Netsuke (Japanese): Carved wooden or ivory toggle, as used for fastening a pouch to a kimono sash.

New School (Graffiti Term): Contemporary writing culture (post 1984). This date can vary greatly depending upon who you ask.

Nihilism: Doctrine that denies the existence of everything; political theory or movement based on the rejection of all authority or any curtailment of individual freedom.

Nihil Obstat: Roman Catholic censor's approval of a book, certifying that it is doctrinally acceptable.

nil desperandum (Latin): "Nothing to be despaired of": don't despair, never say die.

Nine {jiu 九} (Chinese Symbol): The number nine is the highest single digit number and was traditionally associated with the Emperor. In addition, jiu ‘nine’ has the same pronunciation as jiu 久 ‘long lasting’ and is often used at weddings with the wish for a long and successful marriage.

Nirvana (Buddhist Term): Release from the cycle of reincarnations into a state of blessedness.

Nizam (Indian): Title of the former rulers of the state of Hyderabad.

noblesse oblige (French): Obligation imposed by honour or rank.

Noh/No (Japanese): The classical theatre (as opposed to the more popular Kabuki theatre) of the pre-Edo period, using masks (which have since become a famous art form in their own right).

Nominalism: Doctrine that only actual individual objects really exist, and that essences, universals, or abstract concepts exist only as names.

Nones: Fifth of the seven canonical hours.

non sequitur (Latin): "It does not follow": an illogical remark or an inapplicable statement.

Nosegay (American): Posy.

nouveau riche (French): Newly and ostentatiously rich person.

Novena: In Roman Catholic Church, nine day period of prayer.

Nulla Nulla: An Australian Aboriginal term for club or heavy stick.



Number Lines (Graffiti Term): The IRT division of The New York City Subway.

Nunga: Generic term for Aboriginal people of the Southern part of South Australia.



Nyoongar: A generic term for Aboriginal people of South-Western Australia.



5-O (Graffiti Term): Slang for police. Derived form the television series Hawaii 5-O.

Obeah/Obi: Rituals and magic retained in the Caribbean from African spiritual practices used in punishment or retaliation.



Obi (Japanese): Wide sash securing a kimono, typically with a large flat bow at the back.

obiter dictum (Latin): "Said by the way": an incidental remark.

Oblast (Russian): Local administrative division.

Ocker: An Australian term for mate (also an unpolished Australian male).



Oculus: The “eye” of circular opening at the top of a dome.



Ogham: Ancient angular Celtic alphabet and script, used mainly in Ireland.

Old School (Graffiti Term): The writing culture prior to 1984. This date can vary greatly depending upon who you ask.

Ondoku (Japanese): Literally, "reading aloud"; on, for short. A reading which is the Japanese interpretation of the original Chinese sound of the character.

O'Neill/Ui Néill (Dynasty): Irish, 8th - 10th Century.

Onnagata (Japanese): After women were forbidden from acting in the Kabuki theatre, there appeared a class of actors who specialized in women's roles, the onnagata.

Ontology: Study of the nature of being or existence.

Opera Buffa (Italian): Comic opera.

Orc: Monstrous creature of classical mythology.

Ordo: In the Roman Catholic Church, calendar, with details for service for each day of the year. Orange (Dynasty): Netherlands, from 19th Century.

Oread: Mountain nymph of classical mythology.

Origami (Japanese): Art of folding paper into decorative shapes and designs.

Ōsaka (Japanese): Ōsaka was the main commercial city of Japan until the Tokugawa chose Edo as their ruling center; it is still Japan's second-largest city, and (as then) a major port. During theMomoyama Period, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (died 1598), the unifier of Japan, had his capital there.

Otokodate (Japanese): Originally, they were gangs of tough and fearless commoners, formed to protect ordinary townspeople against the abuses of some lawless low-ranking samurai; they soon came to have more in common with protection rackets than anything else. These Robin Hood-like figures, who made a living with gambling, were the ancestors of today's yakuza(Japanese mafia). In Kabuki plays, they usually appear as chivalrous figures protecting common people against oppressive samurai.

Ottoman (Dynasty): Turkish, 14th - 20th Century.

Outline (Graffiti Term): The skeleton or frame work of a piece FINAL OUTLINE: After fill-in and designs have been applied the outline is re-executed to define the letters.

Outstation: An Australian colloquialism referring to small Aboriginal communities established away from larger communities and usually located in, or close to, their traditional country.



Overshoes (American): Galoshes.

Pa, Pah (Maori): Village, originally fortified.

pace (Latin): "By leave of": as used in the front of someone's name as an ironic apology when contradicting him.

Package (American): Packet.

Pacifier (American): Baby's dummy.

Padrone (Italian): Proprietor of an inn or restaurant.

Pahlavi (Dynasty): Iranian, 20th Century.

Pair of Fish (Chinese Religious Symbol): Fertility, conjugal happiness.



Pakeha (Maori): White person, as oppose to Maori.

Palazzo (Italian): Mansion or palace.

Palga: Aboriginal narrative dance cycle in the Eastern Kimberly (Australia), in which performers carry painted boards or threaded-string constructions.

Pan (Indian): Leaf of betel palm; preparation of this leaf with betel nuts and lime for chewing.

Pandit (Hindu): Learned Brahman.

Panel Piece (Graffiti Term): A painting below the windows and between the doors of a subway car.

Panzer (German): Army tank.

Papoose (American Indian): Baby or young child.

par excellence (French): To the highest degree.

Parev/Parve (Jewish): Referring to foods prepared with meat or milk products and therefore suitable for any meal.

Pari-Mutuel (American): Totaliser, the tote betting system.

Parseeism: Western India: surviving form of Zoroastrianism.

Pater Noster: "Our Father", the Lord's prayer.

Patrician: Roman noble.

Parador (Spanish): State-supervised country house hotel.

parti iris (French): Prejudice.

Pasha: Former provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire.

passé (French): Out of date or fashion.

Pavlova: An Australian meringue cake with passion fruit topping.

Peach {tao 桃} (Chinese Symbol): A symbol of longevity along with the venerable God of Longevity, Shoulao 寿老, the peach is one of the most popular motifs found in art. The peach is a symbol of immortality, said to have grown in the orchard of the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu 西王母).



Pearl (Chinese Symbol): Knowledge.



Pearl Binder: Pearl binder is mixed with standard pigment colors turning them metallic. It is also opaque.

Pediment: The triangular spaced formed by the gable end of a classical building; the shape created by the sloping roof and the horizontal cornice; usually holds sculptured figures.

Pediment. Architecture.

Peelie-Wally (Scottish): Sickly.

Pegasus: Winged horse, the offspring of the Gorgon Medusa, and the mount of Perseus and Bellerophon.

Pegon (Indonesia): Javanese or Sundanese written in Arabic script.

Pendentives: The curve triangular areas of masonry that supports a dome resting on a square base.



Peony {mudan 牧丹} (Chinese Symbol): Known as the ‘king of the flowers’, the peony is a symbol of royalty and virtue. It is also called the ‘flower of wealth and honour’ (fuguihua 富貴花) and is widely used to represent wealth and honour.



per capita (Latin): Measured "by head" of the population per person.

Perestroika (Russian): Policy of "restructuring" the Soviet system.

per se (Latin): "By itself", in itself, as such, intrinsically.

persona non grata (Latin): "Person not acceptable": person, especially a diplomat, whose presence is not welcome.
< br /> Perspectivism: Doctrine that there can be no absolute knowledge of truth, since rival conceptual systems produce different views; theory that several points of view are needed to really understand reality.

Phenomenalism: Doctrine that the only thing knowable for certain is our set if sense perceptions or sensations.

Phenomenology: Study of awareness and of perceived objects rather than of objective reality.

Phoenix {feng凤} (Chinese Symbol): The phoenix is the ‘king of birds’ and symbolises good fortune and opportunity as it appears only in times of peace and prosperity. In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is a benevolent bird since it does not harm insects, and each of its body parts represents one of the virtues of benevolence (ren 仁 ), righteousness (yi 義), propriety (li礼), knowledge (zhi 智) and sincerity (xin 信). The phoenix is also the symbol for the empress and, shown with the dragon, it stands for a perfect marriage. It represents the yin - the female force.



Phylacteries/Tefillin (Jewish): Small leather boxes containing parchments inscribed with biblical passages which are tied by leather straps to the head and left arm by devout Jewish men during their morning prayers.

Piazza (Italian): Public square; courtyard with a colonnade.

Pibroch (Scottish): Bagpipe dirge or war song.

Pictography: System of pictures to represent entire words or phrases, as in hieroglyphics.

Piece (Graffiti Term): A writer's painting, short for masterpiece.

Piece Book or Black Book (Graffiti Term): A writer's sketch book. Used for personal art development and or the collection of other artists work.

pièce de résistance (French): Outstanding item.

Piecing (Graffiti Term): The execution of a piece.

pied-à-terre (French): Temporary or secondary residence.

Pilaster: Rectangular column, especially one engaged in a wall.



Pine {song 松}(Chinese Symbol): Because it is evergreen, the pine is regarded as a symbol of longevity. Unlike most other trees, the pine does not wither during winter and thus represents noble endurance in the face of adversity and is often depicted as a popular and auspicious motif in Chinese decorative arts.

Pine, Bamboo and Plum {song 松, zhu 竹and mei 梅} (Chinese Symbol): When shown together the pine, bamboo and plum are known as ‘The Three Friends of Winter’ (suihan sanyou 歲寒三友). The ‘Three Friends’ flourish even under adverse conditions and are symbols of longevity and perseverance, which are virtues attributed to the scholar-gentleman.

Pirog, Pirozhok (Russian): Small pie or pasty.

pis aller (French): Desperate course of action, last resort.

Pishogue (Irish): Witchcraft or black magic.

Plantagenet (Dynasty): English, 12th - 15th Century.

plat du jour (French): Dish of the day.

Platypus: An Australian egg-laying mammal with a broad bill and webbed feet.

Plaza (Spanish): Public-square.

Plebeians, Plebs: Ordinary Roman citizens, the masses, the common people.

Plum Blossom {meihua 梅花} (Chinese Symbol): As the first flower to bloom each year, the plum blossom stands for renewal and emblematic of perseverance and purity. Its appearance while the weather is still cold makes it the flower of winter while spring belongs to the peony, summer to the lotus and autumn to the chrysanthemum. The five petals of the plum blossom are auspicious since the number five is sacred in China.

Plumbline: Weighted string used for marking verticals.



Plymouth Brethren: Puritanical sect founded in 18390 in Plymouth, Devon, holding the bible to be the sole source of truth.

Podiatrist (American): Chiropodist.

Politburo (Russian): Communist Party's ruling committee.

Policy (Scottish): Park of a large house.

Pogrom (Russian): Massacre or persecution.

Pomegranate: (Chinese Symbol): Fertility in one's offspring, sons and a long lineage.



pons asinorum (Latin): "Bridge of asses": test for beginners; problem that the slow-witted cannot solve.

Pontifex: Roman priest of high status.

porte-cochère (French): Covered entrance to a building.

Posada (Spanish): Inn.

Positivism: Doctrine that knowledge consists of or is derived from actual facts, and that religious or supernatural beliefs are not true knowledge.

Poteen (Irish): Illicit distilled whisky.

Potlatch (American Indian): Communal feast in North-West coastal region, at which property is given away or destroyed.

Pow-Wow (American Indian): Conference or ritual ceremony; medicine man.

Production (Graffiti Term): Large scale murals with detailed pieces and illustrations. (Contemporary term used mainly for street murals.)

Pomegranate: (Chinese Symbol): Fertility in one's offspring, sons and a long lineage.


Positive: Refers to the primary objects or shapes in a composition excluding the background.

Post and Lintel: The principal structural device of classical Greek architecture employing two vertical members of posts and a horizontal beam or lintel.

Post-and-lintel system.

Praenomen: First or personal name of a Roman citizen.

Praetor: Leading Roman magistrate of the republic.

Praetorian Guard: Elite Roman troops of the Emperor.

Pragmatics: Semiotic(s).



Pragmatism: A practical approach to political or personal dealings, rejecting ideological and historical considerations.

Prajna (Buddhist Term): Wisdom or enlightenment sought through contemplation.

Pravda (Russian): "Truth", used as the title of a newspaper.

Prayer Wheel (Buddhist Term): Wheel or cylinder with written prayers on or in it.

Prescriptivism: Theory that statements about good and evil cannot be either true or untrue, but simply reflect and prescribe moral attitudes.

Presidium (Russian): Highest policy-making committee of the Supreme Soviet, the legislature.

Prima Donna (Italian): Leading female singer in an opera; temperamental performer.

prima facie (Latin): At first sight; on the face of it.

Prime: Second of the seven canonical hours.

Procurator Fiscal (Scottish): Coroner and public prosecutor.

Proletarian: Roman citizen of the lowest class.

Propaganda Fide/Propaganda: Vatican department in charge of training, posting, and supervising missionaries.

pro rata (Latin): In proportion.

Prunus (Chinese Symbol): First month, winter, perseverance and purity.



Ptolemaic (Dynasty): Egyptian, 4th - 1st Century BC.

Pueblo (American Indian): Communal residence or village in South-Western USA.

Pukumani: State of mourning imposed upon the kin of a Aboriginal deceased person, and the name of the funeral ceremony among the Tiwi of Bathurst and Melville Islands of Australia.

Pukumani poles.

Pull In Pull Out (Graffiti Term): This is essentially a five to fifteen minute lay-up. At the end of some subway routes trains park in a tunnel for several minutes before going back into service. During this time the trains are written on. Due to time constraints pull in-pull outs were generally utilized for throw-ups. It was one of the more dangerous approaches to writing.

Punka (Indian): Ceiling fan made of cloth or palm leaf.

Purdah (Indian): Curtain concealing women from public view, or the social system requiring this.

Purgatory: Condition or temporary home in which souls of the local dead suffer remorse for their venial sins, and are purified for heaven.

Putsch (German): Attempt to overthrow a government by a sudden rebellion.

Qajar (Dynasty): Persian, 18th - 20th Century.

QED: abbr. Quod erat demonstrandum, a Latin term meaning "a thing which has been proved".

Qianlong Emperor (Chinese): An avid collector and student of the arts who ruled China from 1736 - 1795.



Quadrilateral: Plane figure bounded by four straight lines; there are six types - see below.



Quaestor: Roman financial and administrative officer.

Quaich (Scottish): Drinking cup.

quid pro quo (Latin): "Something in return for something else": a favour in return, a substitution or fair exchange.

quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D)(Latin): "Which was to be demonstrated": as added to the end of a proof to show that the point has been made.

Rack (Graffiti Term): A store where shoplifting can be done.

Racking or Racking Up (Graffiti Term): Shoplifting or stealing.

Radical (Japanese): Radicals are multi-stroke elements which appear in numerous characters; any given kanji character is usually composed of a base radical, and additional strokes and/or radicals. Kanji dictionaries are indexed by base radical.

Raiki Wara: Aboriginal phrase which translated means long cloth (e.g. often use in the context of Aboriginal ArtCloth works).



Rainbow Serpent: The name common in much of Aboriginal Australia for several super human beings in their manifestations as snakes (e.g. Wittj the Great python etc.)

The Rainbow Serpent Drreamtime by Cynthia Farr.

raison d'être (French): Purpose of existence.

Rainbow Serpent: The name common in much of Aboriginal Australia for several super human beings in their manifestations as snakes (e.g. Wittj the Great python etc.)

Raga (Indian): Conventional music pattern forming the basis of a composition of interpretation.

Raj (Indian): Dominion, sovereignty.

Rajah, Maharajah (Indian): Prince, chief or ruler.

Ramadan (Islam): Holy month, during which the faithful fast from dawn to dusk; the fast itself.

Rangatira (Maori): Chief or noble.

Rani, Maharani (Indian): Wife of a rajah, princess.

rara avis (Latin): "Rare bird": unusual or exceptional person or thing.

Rarrk: Crossed-hatched clan patterns in Western Arnhem Land (Australia).



Rastafarianism: Belief originating from Jamaica that venerates the Ethiopian emperor Haili Salassie (called Ras Tafari before his coronation). It teaches the eventful redemption of black people and their repatriation to Africa, considered a spiritual Eden.



Rationalism: Doctrine that knowledge v]can only be gained through reason; rejection of religion on the grounds that it is contrary to reason.

Reading (Japanese): Any given kanji character usually has a number of different ways to 'read' it (i.e. sound it, and also possibly meaning). A typical character can be read in multiple ways, in part because of their original use to write Chinese before they were adapted to write Japanese (much as the symbol '3' can be read to produce different words, depending on the language used - e.g. 'three' in English and 'trois' in French). Readings are usually divided into ondoku and kundoku, and there may be more than one of each. Thus, determining how a particular group of kanji are to be pronounced may be decidedly tricky.

Realpolitik (German): Harsh policy of national self-interest.

Realtor (American): Estate agent.

recherché (French): In great demand, mannered, affected.

Reductionism: Analysis of a subject or problem into its components, often by over simplifying it.

Refusenik (Russian): Soviet citizen refused permission to emigrate.
Reich (German): Empire or republic.

Relativism: Doctrine that the truth is not absolute, but varies from individual to individual, culture to culture, and age to age.

Requiem: Roman Catholic Mass for a dead person.

Requiescat: Prayer for the souls of the dead.

Retiarius: Roman gladiator armed with a net and trident rather than a sword.

Ridgie (Graffiti Term): Subway car with corrugated, stainless-steel sides. An undesirable surface for burners. Ridgies ran on the BMT and IND divisions and were preferred by throw-up artists. See image at NYC Subway Resources. Collection of Joe Testagrose.

Rig-Veda (Hindu): Ancient collection of religious poems.

risqué (French): Indelicate or suggestive, saucy.

Roc: Bird of enormous size and strength in Arabian legend.

Rogation: Prayer said during the Rogation Days, proceeding Ascension Day.

Roller Letters (Graffiti Term): Names rendered with bucket paint and rollers.

Rōmaji (Japanese): Literally, "Roman character"; the name for a number of systems used to write Japanese using the Latin alphabet generally used in the West. Currently, the generally-accepted choice world-wide is the Revised Hepburn system, which allows Anglophones to closely approximate the pronunciation of a word in Japanese.

Roman Alphabet: Standard alphabet of most western and central European languages.

Romanov (Dynasty): Russian, 17th - 20th Century.

Rōnin (Japanese): Literally, "wave man"; a samurai; who had been left masterless by the death, or disgrace, of his master. Ordinarily, a samurai left in this state was expected to commit seppuku; one who did not was left in a state of shame (although some attempted to avenge their masters - the most famous of these being the 47 Rōnin). During the Edo Period, there were large numbers of rōnin, and although some found legitimate employment, many drifted into criminal activity, giving the group an especially unsavory reputation at that time.

Roundel: A circular or oval panel of white glass (less commonly rectangular) of approximately 20 cm in diameter, made of a single piece decorated with monochrome glass-paint and yellow stain. Later examples also display enamel colors. They depict religious and secular subject-matter and were designed to be viewed at close quarters, often in domestic and other secular settings. They became popular in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, and the largest number were made in the Low Countries.



Rota: Supreme ecclesiastical court of the Roman Catholic Church.

Rouble (Russian): Monetary unit, equal to 100 kopecks.

Rummage Sale (American): Jumble sale.

Runes: Ancient Germanic carved alphabet script.

Rutabaga (American): Swede, root vegetable.

Ruyi Sceptre (Chinese Symbol & Phrase): "May you have everything you wish".


Ruyi Sceptre With Scroll Motif (Chinese Symbol & Phrase): "Good wishes for a long life and all you desire".


Sachem, Sagamore (American Indian): Tribal Chief.

Sacred Vase (Chinese Religious Symbol): Eternal harmony. It is one of the eight auspicious symbols.


Safavid (Dynasty): Persian, 16th - 18th Century.

Sahib (Indian): Form of address, as formerly used to Colonial Europeans, equivalent of Sir or Master.

Sake/Saki (Japanese): Rice wine.

Salamander: Lizard or other reptilian monster; creature able to live in fire.

Samisen (Japanese): Three-stringed musical instrument.

Samizdat (Russian): Underground publishing unit or press.

Samovar (Russian): Tea urn.

Samsara (Hindu): Repeated cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.

Samurai (Japanese): Literally, "one who serves"; a member of the warrior class, which was the highest ranking social class during most period of Japanese history. The samurai lived by elaborate social and military codes, part of which was called bushi-do, literally "road of the warrior".

sang-froid (French): Calm, self-control, self-possession.

San-gō (Japanese): Literally, 'mountain name', the first of the two names which Asian Buddhist temples usually have, along with a jigō. This seems to have originated as the name of the mountain in which the temple was located; it has since been extended, and since the Nara Period is now an honorific name which all temples are given. It may be the name of a mountain with which the temple is associated, or its location (even if not a mountain), or even some other location, e.g. the location of the residence of a benefactor. It always ends with the character san (山), meaning 'mountain', even if the place so named is not a mountain.

Sanhedrin (Jewish): Ancient Jewish high court and council.

Sannyasi (Hindu): Holy Brahman beggar in his final incarnation, who will not return to Earth again.

Sanskrit (Hindu): Ancient language of Hinduism.

Santeria: An African Cuban religion derived from Yoruba beliefs and rituals.

Santeria Altar.

Sark (Scottish): Shirt, short shift, or petticoat.

Sassenach (Scottish): English person; low land Scot.

Satrap: Provincial governor in ancient Persia; any dictatorial minor ruler.

Saturnalia: Bawdy Roman festival of the god Saturn, celebrated in December.

Satyagraha (Indian): Gandhi's policy of non-violent resistance to British rule.

Satyr, Faun: Spirit of field and woodland of classical mythology, having a human torso, the hindquarter of a goat, and horns, noted for lechery.

savoir-faire (French): Knowledge of appropriate behavior.

Savoy (Dynasty): Italian, 19th - 20th Century.

Sayonara (Japanese): Goodbye.

Schadenfreude (German): Delight in others' misfortunes.

Schlemiel (Jewish): Clumsy, unlucky or long-suffering person.

Schmaltz (German): Excessive sentimentality.

Schmuck, Schnook (Jewish): Foolish or stupid person; person who is easily duped.

Schnorrer (Jewish): Beggar; sponger.

Scholasticism: Medievial Christian philosophy and theology associated with the Church of Fathers, sometimes influenced by Aristotle.

Scoring: It is - in bottle cutting, scratching a fine clean line into the surface of the bottle to provide a break line.



Scratchiti (Graffiti Term): A media coined term for the scratchings rendered on to the windows of subway cars.

Second Empire Style: The ornate, ostentatious, and largely eclectic style current in interior design in France under the reign of Napoleon III (reigned 1848-70).



Seki (Japanese): A control barrier of the Tokugawa government, to control and maintain traffic throughout the land. A total of 55 of these stations were set up by the Tokugawa government along the Tokaido.

Seleucid (Dynasty): Hellenic, 4th - 1st Century BC.

Seljuk (Dynasty): Turkish, 11th - 13th Century.

Sephardi (Jewish): Jew of Spanish or Portuguese descent.

Sepoy (Indian): Indian soldier serving under the British in India.

Seppuku (Japanese): Also "harakiri" (with the two kanji reversed), although this form is sometimes considered crude. Literally, "stomach-cutting". Ritual suicide for a samurai who had been defeated in battle, or as a punishment for a lesser crime (for more foul offences, a degrading public execution, rather than the honourable seppuku, was the usual response).

Sesterce: Quarter of a Roman denarius.

Seventh Day Adventist: Sect observing the sabbath of Saturday and believing that Christ's Second Coming and the end of the world are about to happen.

Sext: Fourth of the seven canonical days.

Shahadah (Arabic): Muslim profession of faith.

Shakers: Radical Quaker sect found in 1747, believing in the common ownership of property, named from their former custom of dancing and shaking movements during ceremonies.

Shaman: Sorcerer, magician, medicine-man, priest of the Old Stone Age hunting cultures; he was probably responsible for pictures of animals painted on cave walls and ceilings.

Shamanism: Northern Siberia and North America: belief that spirits control life and can be influenced by priests.

Shang (Dynasty): Chinese, ca. 16th Century BC.

Shebeen (Irish): Illegal drinking house.

Sheikh: Leader of an Arab tribe or village; Muslim religious leader.

Sheila: An Australian term for unsophisticated woman.



Shema: "Ear, O Israel", the confession of the Jewish faith.

Sherif/Sharif (Islam): Title of respect for a Muslim ruler; governor of Mecca; person claiming descent from Muhammad.

Shieling (Scottish): Shepard's hut.

Shi'ite: Anglicised form of the Arabic word Shi'i meaning a member of the Shi'a branch of Islam. The Shi'a give special status to the family of the Prophet in the succession of the calipph khalif or head of the Islamic community.

Shiite, Shiah (Islam): Member of the smaller of the two main branches of Islam, believing in as line of succession of spiritual authority from Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali.

Shikaree (Indian): Hunter or guide for big game hunters.

Shikse (Jewish): Non-Jewish girl; Jewish girl not keeping with Jewish traditions.

Shillelagh (Irish): Club or cudgel.

Shintō (Japanese): Literally, "way of the spirits"; the indigenous religion of Japan, once the state religion. It is animistic, and involves the worship of kami; prior to the Meiji Restoration, most Japanese believed in an amalgamation of Shinto and Bhuddist beliefs, but the two were separated at that point, to allow Shinto to be used for nationalistic purposes, as the Japanese struggled to catch up with the outside world.

Shiralee/Swag/Bluey: An Australian term for a tramp's bindle of belongings.



Shofar (Jewish): Ram's horn blown like a trumpet on various holidays.

Shōgun (Japanese): The Shōgun was the military ruler of Japan during various periods (see below), who whilst theoretically 'appointed' by the Emperor, actually seized power via a military revolt, and used the Emperor as a figurehead. The Shogunate was also known as the Bakufu, literally "tent government", emphasizing the military base.

Shoji (Japanese): Translucent sliding door or screen made of paper.

Shōwa (Japanese Period: 1926-1989): This lengthy reign covered a period of almost un-imaginable change in Japan. At the start of it, while urban Japan had absorbed some Western influences, the country-side had changed little from centuries before; at the end of it, after the calamity of World War II, and the re-building of Japan, Japan was a fully integrated part of the modern world, and its people had a very different outlook on life.

Shuangxi (Chinese Religious Symbol): Double-happiness.



Siesta (Spanish): Afternoon sleep or rest.

Sikhism: Punjab: religion developed from Hinduism in the 16th Century by Guru Nanak, incorporating elements of Islam.

Silk Roads: Trade routes established in the 1st century BC reaching from Eastern China to Central Asia and ultimately into Europe; these routes were an important source of cultural exchange through the 14th century AD.



Sign: In communication studies, any means whereby one human, animal or plant seeks to affect behavior or condition of another by means of communication; “sign types" are those universal (such as letters of the alphabet) which are drawn on to produce "sign events", physical embodiment of sign-types (such as speech, or a piece of writing).

sine die (Latin): "Without a day": at no set date; indefinitely.

sine qua non (Latin): "Without which not": a necessity, something indispensable.

Sitar, Vina, Tamboura, Sarod (Indian): Stringed musical instruments of various kinds.

Siva/Shiva (Hindu): Destroyer god of the divine trinity.

Sjambok: Taut whip, especially of rhinoceros or hippopotamus hide.

Skean Dhu (Scottish): Dagger, worn in stocking.

Skelm (South African): Rascal or lawbreaker.

Skelp (Scottish): Spank.

Skillet (American): Frying pan.

Skite: An Australian term for a person who boasts.



Skokiaan (South African): Potent home-brewed alcoholic drink.

Slants (Graffiti Term): IND R-40 subway cars with slanted face.

Sleekit (Scottish): Crafty, sly.

Slingshot (American): Shanghai, catapult.

Sloot (South African): Ditch or channel.

Snap Fastener (American): Press stud.

Sodality: Society or association of the lay members of the Roman Catholic Church for devotional or charitable purposes.

soi-disant (French): Self-styled, so-called.

Solipsism: Belief that self is the only thing in existence, or the only thing knowable for certain.

Solitaire: Card game of patience.

Songket (Indonesia): Supplementary weft weaving creating a brocade cloth.

Sonsy (Scottish): Plump.

Sophomore (American): Second-Year student.

Sōsho (Japanese): Literally, "grass writing"; an extremely stylized and fluid form of kanji characters, found in hand-written material. It is almost a short-hand form, and it is often impossible to relate sōsho characters back to their kanji originals.

Sotto voce (Italian): In an undertone.

Soviet (Russian): National, regional or local council.

Sovkhoz (Russian): State farm.

Spalliera: (Plural: spalliere). From the Italian, spalla, meaning “shoulder”. Ornamented or figurate panel about shoulder height of a textile or, when set into a wall or on furniture, of painted wood.

Spalliera Panels.

Spalpeen (Irish): Rascal or young lad.

Spandrel: The curved triangular area left between an arch, the vertical from which it springs, and the horizontal across its apex.



Sphinx: Creature of classical mythology, having the head of a woman and the body of a lion, that killed all those unable to solve its riddle.

Sporran (Scottish): Pouch worn with a kilt.

Sputnik (Russian): Orbiting spaceship, satellite.

SPQR: Slogan or identifying insignia, "Senate and the People of Roman".

Squatter/pastoralist: An Australian term for a large-scale sheep or cattle farmer.

Squaw (American Indian): Woman or wife.

Stadholder: Chief magistrate or provincial governor in the Netherlands in the former times.

Stakhanovite (Russian): Outstanding industrial worker.

status quo (Latin): The present position, the existing state of affairs.

Steel (Graffiti Term): Any type of train. New school term used to distinguish train and wall work.

Stein (German): Earthenware tankard.

Steppe (Russian): Wide, grassy plain of Southern Russia.

Stevedore, Longshoreman (American): Waterside worker, wharfie.

Stewart/Stuart (Dynasty): Scottish,14th - 18th Century.

Stoicism: Ancient doctrine that man's only worthwhile aim is virtue, and that this involves submitting to nature and suppressing one's emotions.

Stoep (South African): Raised verandah.

Stramash (Scottish): Commotion.

Strapwork: Ornamentation imitating plaited straps.



Strath (Scottish): Long, steep-sided, flat bottom valley, wider than a glen.

Strine: An Australian term for a broad Australian accent.



Structuralism: Theory or movement in many academic fields based on the view that the subject has various underlying structures contrasts, and assumptions; study of the structure rather than the history of languages.

Studiolo: A small private study in a secular setting such as a house or palace.



Stupa/Tope: Buddhist shrine, typically dome-shape.

Sturm and Drang (German): Late 18th Century German romantic literary movement.

Style Wars (Graffiti Term): (i) Competition between artists to determine superior creative ability; (ii) Documentary film on Hip Hop by Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver (RIP). Proved to be an extremely inspirational element for the New School.

Sufism: Iran: mythical form of Islam.

Suttee (Hindu): Former practice of willing self-cremation by a widow on her husband's funeral pyre; widow who cremates herself in this way.

sub rosa (Latin): "Under the nose": secretively, privately, confidentially.

Sufi (Islam): Member of a mystical Muslim sect, associated chiefly with Iran.

Sufism (Islam): The tradition of Islamic mystical philosophy and practice.

sui genesis (latin): "Of its own kind": unique.

Sultan (Muslim): Ruler of a Muslim State, especially under the Ottoman Empire.

Sumo (Japanese): Elaborate and ritualised form of wrestling.

Sung (Dynasty): Chinese, 10th - 13th Century.

Sunnite, Sunni (Islam): Member of the larger of the two main branches of Islam, stressing the authority of tradition Islamic law.

Suspenders (American): Bracers.

Sura (islam): Chapter of the Koran.

Sutra (Buddhist Term): Scriptural text, especially any suppose discourse by the Buddha.

Suzerain: Feudal Lord.

Swagman: An Australian term for a tramp, vagrant or itinerant worker.

Swami (Hindu): Term of address for a religious leader or ascetic.

Swedenborgians: Followers of the 18th Century Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, or members of the New Jerusalem Church, believing in direct mythical communication between the world and the spiritual realm.

Syce (Indian): Stableman or groom.

Syllabary: Set of written characters, each representing a syllable.

Symbolism: The systematic use of visual symbols according to mythical, religious, literary etc. traditions.



Syndicalism: Revolutionary movement or theory supporting government by trades unions or workers' syndicates, to be achieved by radical industrial action.

Tabernacle (Jewish): Portable sanctuary or tent in which the Ark of the Covenant was carried through the desert by ancient Jews.

Tabla (Indian): Pair of small drums.

Tablet: Stone markings. Modern terminology same as digitizing pad.

Moses Tablets.

Tacky (South African): Plimsoll, tennis shoe.

Tag (Graffiti Term): (Noun) A writer's name and signature; (Verb) The execution of a signature.

Tagging Up (Graffiti Term): The execution of a signature.

Taiaha (Maori): Long, spear-like weapon.

Taiga (Russian): Subarctic pine forrest of Siberia.

Taipan: An Australian venomous snake.



Taisho (1912-1926; Japanese Period): During this period, while the modernization and industrialization of Japan proceeded, the Japanese became convinced that Japanese culture could be preserved, while incorporating the best of Western ideas and technology.

Talmud (Jewish): Collection of ancient writings forming the basis of Jewish tradition law and teachings.

Tama (Maori): Youth, boy.

Tang (Dynasty): Chinese, 7th - 10th Century.

Tangata (Maori): Man or husband.

Tangi (Maori): "Weeping"; mourning or a funeral.

Tanka (Japanese): Literally, "short poem"; a waka poem in thirty-one syllables, arranged in five 5-7-5-7-7 syllable phrases. It was developed in the late eighth century, and soon took its place as one of the important regularized poetic forms; the creation of tanka became an essential skill for any aristocrat. Over time, the tanka became the premier poetic form, and the subject of competitions, while critics formulated elaborate theories and definitions around them.

tant mien (French): So much the better.

tant pis (French): So much the worst.

Tantra (Buddhist Term): Any text from a group of later mystical writings.

Tantras (Hindu): Various mythical religious texts.

Taoiseach: Prime Minister of the Irish Republic.

Taoism (Chinese Term): An indigenous belief system based on the forces of nature and teachings of Lao Tzu (6th Century BC).

Ying Yang.

Tasmanian Devil: Small fierce flesh-eating marsupial.



Tatami (Japanese): Straw mat or floor covering.

Tauhid (Arabic): The Oneness of God, absolute monotheism.

Tawse (Scottish): Leather strap.

Techne: Greek term for technical skill in making and re-setting.

Tenno (Japanese): Japanese Emperor, especially as considered the divinely appointed religious leader.

Tensho (Japanese): A specialized stylized form of kanji characters, used mainly in seals.

Tepee (American Indian): Cone-shape tent.

Terce: Third of the seven canonical hours.

Testudo: Siege device formed by interlocking shields held above legionaries' heads to protect them against missiles.

tête-à-tête (French): Intimate conversation.

Tetrarch: Any of the four joint rulers, or ruler of a quarter of a region; prince enjoying limited power in the Roman Empire.

Teuchter (Scottish): Person from North-West Scotland; country bumpkin.

The Buff (Graffiti Term): The MTA's graffiti removal program.

Theravada/Hinayana (Buddhist Term): Branch of Buddhism, abc in Sri Lanka and South-East Asia, of a fundamentalist and monastic kind.

Thermae: Public baths.

The System (Graffiti Term): The New York City Subway system.

Three Star Gods {fulushou福禄寿} (Chinese Symbol): The Three Star Gods are the God of Fortune (fuxing 福星), God of Prosperity (luxing祿星) and God of Longevity (shouxing寿星), each recognisable by characteristic iconography. The God of Fortune is depicted as a man carrying a young boy (the highest blessing is having a male child to carry on the family name), the God of Prosperity holds a sceptre of power (symbolising the ability to reap high rewards), while the God of Longevity carries a tall staff and a peach (representing immortality) and is sometimes accompanied by a crane or deer. They are often represented together.

Thole (Scottish): Endure, bear.

Throwie (Graffiti Term): Contemporary term for throw-up.

Throw Up (Graffiti Term): A quickly executed piece consisting of an outline with or without thin layer of spray paint for fill-in.

Thuluth (Arabic): Large-scale cursive script often seen as chapter headings of the Qur'an or on highlighted pages.

Tick-Tack-Toe (American): Noughts and crosses.

Tiffen (Indian): Light lunch or snack.

Tiki, Heitiki (Maori): Stone fingering of an ancestor, strung on as flax, and worn around the neck as a talisman.

Tomahawk (American Indian): Light axe.

Tingari: Commonly described as a group of Aboriginal ancestral beings, with one or more dominant men or women, who brought law and culture to the peoples of the Western Desert region (Australia).

George Ward Tjungurrayi - Tingari.

Tjukurpa: The "Tjukurpa" or "Dreamtime" or "Dreaming" as it is sometimes loosely translated into English, is fundamental to Central Australian Aboriginal life. It defines traditional aboriginal law and religion and encompasses the land and its creation and all that exists. Different language groups of Central Australia have different words and spellings for the same concepts, sometimes capitalized and sometimes not. Some of these are: Tjukurpa (Pitjantjatjara language), Altyerre (Arrernte), Jukurrpa (Warlpiri) and Tjukurrpa (Pintupi - Luritja). It is incorrect to assume that all aboriginal groups in Australia have "Dreamings" or even similar "Dreamings" to those in Central Australia.

Tjukurpa-Pulkatjara.

Toast (as in "Cheers"): Gëzuar! (Albania); Cheers mate! (Australian); Prost! (Austria); A votre sauté! Gezondheid! (Belgium); Nazdrave! (Bulgaria); Gun-bei! (China); Skål! (Denmark); Kippis! Skål! Hölkyn kölkyn! (Finland); A votre santé! (France); Prosit! Prost! Zum wohl! (Germany); Stin ysa esas! (Greece); Yum-sing (Hong Kong); Sláinte! (Ireland); L'chaim! (Israel); Salute! Ciao! (Italy); Kam pai! (Japan); Salud! (Mexico); Proost! Santjes! (Netherlands); Skål! (Norway); Na zdrowie! (Poland); Saúde! (Portugal); Noroc! (Romania); Saline mhath! (Scotland); Geluk! Gezondheid! (South Africa); Salud! (Spain); Skål! (Sweden); Prost! Zum wohl! Santé! Salute! (Switzerland); Chokdee! (Thailand); Serefe! (Turkey); Na zdorovye! (USSR); Iechyd da! (Wales); Zielli! (former Yugoslavia).

Tōkaidō (Japanese): The Tōkaidō (literally, the "Eastern Sea Road") was the main road of feudal Japan. It ran for roughly five hundred kilometers between the old imperial capital, Kyōto, where the Emperor still lived, and the effective capital, Edo where the Shogun lived. It ran more or less along the coast, from Edo to Nagoya, and then across the mountains and around the southern end of Lake Biwa to Kyōto.Fifty-three stations (not counting the two termini), consisting of horse and porter stations, along with a range of lodging, food, etc, establishments for ordinary travellers, were established along the between the two ends, which most travelers covered on foot, usually travelling several stages per day.

Tōkyō (Japanese): 'Tōkyō' (literally, "Eastern capital") is the new name for Edo after the Meiji Restoration. That removed the Tokugawa Shogunate (whose capital it was) from power, and the Emperor then moved to Tōkyō, from his previous residence in Kyōto, and took over Edo castle, the seat of power of the old Shogunate. The city's name was changed in 1868, to underline and commemorate the move from Kyōto.

Tonga (Indian): Lighrt, two-wheeled horse drawn vehicle.

Tongue-and-Groove: Joint made between two boards by means of a tongue projecting from the edge of one board that slots into a groove along the edge of the other.

Top To Bottom or T to B (Graffiti Term): A piece which extends from the top of the subway car to the bottom.

Toshidama (Japanese): Literally, "New Year's jewel"; the seal of the Utagawa school, usually a circle, with a zig-zag in the upper right-hand corner. Sometimes it is enlongated into a vertical oval, and used to contain the artist's signature.

Torah (Jewish): The first five books of the old Testament, the Pentateuch; scroll or parchment containing this text.

Torii (Japanese): Gateway of a Shinto temple; essentially two uprights with a cross piece.

Tōto: An alternative old name (literally, "Eastern metropolis") for Edo.

tour de force (French): Outstanding feat.

tout court (French): Plainly and simply.

Tovaritch (Russian): Comrade, used as a polite form of address.

Toy (Graffiti Term): (i) Inexperienced or incompetent writer; (ii) A small felt tip marker.

Tracktarians: Followers of the 19th Century Oxford Movement, who sought closer ties between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

Trademark: Legal name of a product.

Trade Mark of Art Quill & Co Pty Ltd.

trahison des clerks (French): Betrayal of a cause by intellectuals.

Transcendentalism: Doctrine that the ultimate reality is in a realm beyond everyday experience; doctrine that knowledge is obtain by intuition or by reflecting on the reasoning process itself.

Transept: The cross arm in a basilica church; it meets the Nave at right angles, separating the nave from the apse; the main altar is usually under the crossing of the Nave and transept.



Transom (American): Fanlight.

Transubstantiation: Doctrine that the bread and wine used during Mass actually turn into the body and blood of Christ.

Trattoria (Italian): Restaurant.

Travois (American Indian): Sledge-like vehicle formerly used by the Plains Indians.

Tref (Jewish): Referring to food considered impure, not in keeping with Jewish dietary laws.

Tribune: Roman officer elected by the plebeians to champion their rights against the patricians.

Tribute System (Chinese Term): Neighboring states submit to the Chinese Emperor by exchanging gifts for trading privileges in China.



Triclinium: Couch around three sides of a table, on which Romans reclined at meals; a dinning room.

Tridentine Mass: Mass in the form used in the Roman Catholic Church from 1570 until recent times.

Triumvir: Any of three joint Roman rulers.

Troika (Russian): Three-horse carriage or sledge.

Trumeau: A central support for tympanum in a large doorway.



Tsar: Emporer in Russia of former times.

Tsarevtch (Russian): Son of Tsar.

Tsarina/Czarina (Russian): Empress; wife of tsar.

Tuchen: Military Governor of a Chinese province in former times.

Tucker: An Australian term for food.



Truck Farm (American): Market garden.

Trunk (American): Boot of a car.

Tudor (Dynasty): English, 15th - 17th Century.

Tumbtack (American): Drawing pin.

Tuxedo (American): Dinner jacket; man's formal evening wear.

Tyepty: An Anmatyerr word (Australian Aboriginal) meaning storytelling game of drawing in the ground; Anmatyerr is spoken by many artists from the Utopia region (Australia).



Tympanum: The space between the lintel and the arch above a doorway filled with stone.



UDC: Initials of "Universal Decimal Classification": system of classifying areas of knowledge developed as extension of "Dewey Decimal Classification".

Ukase (Russian): Command or edict, as issued by the Tsars.

Ulama (Indonesia): Religious scholar or learned man.

Ulema (Islam): Group of religious scholars or leaders, or a member of this group.

Umayyad/Ommiad (Dynasty): Arabian, 8th - 11th Century.

Umbrella (Religious Chinese Symbol): Royal grace.



Uniats: Members of the Eastern Orthodox churches that acknowledge the Pope, but keep their own liturgy.

Unco (Scottish): Very; unusual.

Unicorn: White, horse-like animal with a long, single horn, able to outwit all captors except virgins.

Universal Copyright Convention (1952): Agreement beween signatory countries giving protection for copyright proprietor of text, photograph, illustration, movie, work of art, providing work carries proper copyright notice consisting of symbol, name of copyright proprietor and year of publication.

Up (Graffiti Term): Describes a writer whose work appears regularly on the trains or through out the city.

Upanishads (Hindu): Various philosophical and theological texts elaborating upon the Vedas.

UPC: Initials of "Universal Product Code" (see "bar code").

Utilitarianism: Doctrine that the greatest good is what produces most happiness for the greatest number of people.

Vajara (Chinese Term): A Buddhist symbol representing a thunderbolt.



Valence (American): Pelmet.

Valois (Dynasty): French, 14th - 16th Century.

Vandalism (with reference to graffiti): Defacing property without the property owner’s consent.

Varangian (Dynasty): Russo - Scandinavian, 9th Century.

Vault: A masonry, brick or concrete arched structure forming a ceiling or roof over a hall; barrel vault, groin vault, ribbed vault.



Vedanta (Hindu): Philosophical system dealing with the singleness of reality and the believer's duty of self-transcendence.

Vedas (Hindu): Various ancient scared writings.

Velskoen (South African): Hide shoe.

Venerable: Title given to a dead person who is at the first level of sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

Venial Sin: Sin that is not fully evil, and does not deprive the soul of God's grace.

Verkrampte (South African): Person of ultra-conservative views.

Verligte (South African): Person of relatively liberal views.

Verst (Russian): Measurement of distance, just over a kilometre, about two-thirds of a mile.

Vespers: Sixth of the seven canonical hours.

Vest (American): Waistcoat.

Veteran: Ex-serviceman.

Viceroy: Governor of a country, colony, or the like, ruling in the name of his sovereign or government.

victor ludorum (Latin): "Winner of the games": sport champion.

vis-à-vis (French): In relation to, compared with.

Vishnu (Hindu): Preserver god of the divine trinity.

Vizier: High-ranking offical, such as a provincial governor or chief minister, in Muslim countries, especially under the oOttoman Empire.

VOC: Dutch East India Company or Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie founded in 1602.

Vodou (Voodoo, Vodun, Voudoun): The religion of the majority of the Haitian people, which combines West African and European spiritual practices.



Voetsek! (South African): Shoo! Go away! Push off!

Volost (Russian): Pre-revolutionary local council in a rural area.

volte-face (French): About-turn, policy reversal.

Voussoir: A wedge-shaped block used in the construction of a masonry arch.



vox populi (Latin): "The voice of the people": public opinion.

Vulgate: 4th Century Latin translation of the bible by St Jerome.

Waddy: An Australian Aboriginal term for heavy wooden war club or throwing stick.



Wagoto (Japanese): Literally, "gentle style"; a form of acting in the Kabuki theatre which used much more realistic (and refined) speech and gesture than the opposing aragoto style. The typical wagoto hero is a refined, romantic and soft young man, the heir of a rich family (usually of merchants), who is deeply in love with the most beautiful courtesan of the pleasure quarter; at the end of the play, he often has to run away with her, with the two forced to commit shinjū (dual love suicide) in order to be together in the afterlife.

Wahine (Maori): Polynesian or Maori woman or wife.

Wahhabi (Islam): Member of a puritanical sect, observing strictly the wording of the Koran, based mainly in Saudi Arabia.

Wahhabism: Saudi Arabia: beliefs of a rigid Islamic sect, strict observers of the Koran.

WAK (Graffiti Term): Substandard or incorrect.

Waka (Japanese): Literally "Japanese poem"; so named because it referred to the original indigenous poetic form of Japan, as distinguished from the Chinese imports so common in Japan. The first great age of written waka was in the seventh and eighth centuries, with nagauta ("long poems") consisting of alternating 'lines' of five and seven syllables.

Walka: An Australian Aboriginal word which translated means meaningful or intentional marks (e.g. sometimes used in the context of mark making on cloth).

Aboriginal Cloth.

Walkabout: An Australian Aboriginal term for period of wandering in the Australian bush for spiritual renewal.



Wall Paper (Graffiti Term): Repetition of a name written making enough coverage so that a pattern develops, much like wall paper.

Wampum/Peag (American Indian): Shell heads, used as money or decoration.

Wan (Chinese Religious Symbol): Ten thousand.



Wandjina: Generic term for a group of Aboriginal ancestral beings in the Kimberly (Australia), who control elements and maintain fertility in human beings and other natural species.



Warrigal: An Australian Aboriginal term for dingo (native dog) or wild horse.



Weltanschauung (German): Philosoph of life, worldview.

Weltschmerz (German): Romantic sadness or pessimism; world-weariness.

Werewolf: Monster alternating between the forms of a human being and a wolf.

Wheel of Law (Chinese Religious Symbol): The teaching of Buddha.



Wheen (Scottish): A few.

Wickiup (American Indian): Temporary hut of grass or reeds over a rough frame.

Wigwam (American Indian): Arching hut of branches, covered with bark, mats or hides.

Wild Side (Graffiti Term): (i) Bronx crew from the 1970s led by Tracy 168; (ii) A complicated construction of interlocking letters; (iii) Classic film on Hip Hop culture directed by Charlie Ahearn.

Window Down (Graffiti Term): A piece done below the windows of a subway car.

Windsor (Dynasty): British, 20th - 21st Century.

Wittlesbach (Dynasty): German, 14th - 20th Century.

Wobble Board: An Australian term for a fiber board sheet that booms when shaken and flexed and is used as a musical instrument.



Wombat: An Australian furry burrowing marsupial.



Woomera: An Australian Aboriginal term for hooked stick for launching spears or darts.



Work Bum (Graffiti Term): New York City Transit Authority track maintenance worker.

Wowser (or Wowzer): An Australian term for a puritan, killjoy, prude.



Writer (Graffiti Term): Practitioner of the art of writing.

Written Characters (Chinese Symbol): Written Chinese characters have both decorative and symbolic value. For instance, during New Year celebrations, families display the character for ‘good fortune’ (fu 福) written on red paper. The paper is sometimes turned upside down to mean that ‘blessings have arrived’ since ‘upside down’ (dao倒) is a pun for ‘arrived’ (dao 到). Chinese characters expressing a concept such as happiness and longevity (shou 寿 or壽) are used as auspicious symbols through both their meaning and their visual appearance.

Wynd (Scottish): Narrow valley.

Wyvern/Wivern: Winged dragon of European mythology, having bird's feet and a serpent tail.

Wurley: An Australian Aboriginal term for shelter or hut, typically made of branches, leaves and grass matting.



Yarmulke (Jewish): Skullcap worn by observing Jewish men.

Yawulyu: Aboriginal women's designs and ceremonies (in the Walpiri language).



Yeshiva (Jewish): School for religious or rabbinical studies.

Yiddish (Jewish): Language of Central and Eastern European Jews, based on High German dialects with Hebrew and Slav additions, and written in Hebrew characters.

Yirrjta: Name for one of the two Aboriginal complementary social and religious categories (moieties) in Central and Eastern Arnhem land (Australia) - see also Dhuwa.

Yolngu: Generic term for the Aboriginal peoples of Central and Eastern Arnhem land (Australia).

York (Dynasty): English, 15th Century.

Yuan (Dynasty): Mongol, 13th Century.

Zaibatsu (Japanese): Powerful business enterprise or association in the control of a few leading families.

Zamzam (Arabic): Sacred well located in the Great Mosque of Mekkah, known as the Well of Ismail and visited by pilgrims to the Ka'bah.

Zand (Dynasty): Persian, 18th Century.

Zemstvo (Russian): Pre-revolutionary district council.

Zeitgeist (German): The spirit of the times.

Zen: Mahayana school or sect favouring meditation and intuition rather than scripture as a means of enlightenment.

Zen Buddhism: Japan, and formerly China: mystical form of Buddhism, seeking enlightenment through meditation.

Ziggurat: The almost pyramid-shaped monument of the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians, consisting of four or five stages or stories stepped back to form terraces; outside stairways lead to temples and a shrine on top.

Ziggurat Architecture in Mesopotamia.

Zip Code (American): Postcode.

Zoning: Partitioning a city or town by ordinance into specific areas or zones for manufacturing, recreation, and residence.



Zwinglians: Followers of the 16th Century Swiss Protestant reformer Ulrich Zewingli, holding that Christ's presence in the Communion is symbolic rather than actual.


References:
[1] A. Fritz and J. Cant, Consumer Textiles, Oxford University Press, Melbourne (1986).

[2] P. Lambert, B. Staepelaere and M. G. Fry, Color and Fiber, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Pennsylvania (1986).

[3] N. Hollen and J. Saddler, Textiles, 3rd edition, Collier-Macmillan Ltd, London (1968).

[4] Ed. L.W.C. Miles, Textile Printing, Dyers Company Publication Trust, West Yorkshire (1981).

[5] E.N. Abrahart, Dyes and Their Intermediates, Pergamon Press, Sydney (1968).

[6] A. Kosloff, Textile Screen Printing, The Signs of the Times Publishing Company, Cincinnati (1966).

[7] D.W.A. Sharp, The Penguin Dictionary of Chemistry, Penguin Books Ltd, New York (1983).

[8] A. Stromquist, Simple Screenprinting, Larks Books, New york (2005).

[9] R. Adam and C. Robertson, Screenprinting, Thames & Hudson, London (2003).

[10] A. Campbell, The Designer's Handbook, MacDonald & Co., Sydney (1983).

[11] K.L. Casselman, Craft of the Dyer, University of Toronto Press, Toronto (1980).

[12] E.P.G. Gohl and L.D. Vilensky, Textile Science, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne (1989).

[13] G.H. Aylward and T.J.V. Findlay, SI Chemical Data, John Wiley and Sons, Elwood (1983).

[14] R. Mayer, The Artist's Handbook, 4th Edition, Faber and Faber, Norfolk (1982).

[15] K. Wells, Fabric Dyeing And Printing, Conrn Octopus Ltd., London (2000).

[16] A. Kornerup and J.H. Wanscher, Methuen Handbook of Colour, 3rd Edition, Eyre Methuen Ltd, London (1983).

[17] C. E. Kicklighter and R.J. Baird, Crafts - Illustrated Designs And Techniques, The Goodheart-Willcox, Company, Inc. South Holland (1986).

[18] K. Skinner, The Paint Effects Bible, Gary Allen Pty Ltd, Smithfield, Australia (2003).

[19] E.J. Gawne, Fabrics For Clothing, 3rd Edition, Chas. A. Bennett Co. Inc., Peoria, USA (1973).

[20] M.E. Ratcliffe, Fabric Painting, Salamandar Books Ltd, New York (1988).

[21] Editors A. Jeffs, W. Martensson and and P. North , Creative Crafts Encyclopedia, Octopus Books, London (1984).

[22] L. Wauchope, Silk Painting, Simon and Schuster, Sydney (1992).

[23] E.B. Feldman, Varieties Of Visual Experience, 2nd Edition, Prentice-Hall, New York (1982).

[24] J. Fish, Designing and Printing Textiles, The Crowood Press Ltd., Ramsbury (2005).

[25] A.H. Barr, Cubism and Abstract Art, Arno Press, New York (1966).

[26] D. Piper, The Illustrated History Of Art, Bounty Books (2000).

[27] N. Dyrenforth, The Technique of Batik, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London (1988).

[28] W. Caruana, Aboriginal Art, 3rd Edition, Thames & Hudson, London (2012).

[29] Islamic Manuscript Art of South-East Asia, Crescent Moon, Gordon-Daring Foundation (2005).

[30] M-T Wisniowski, personal communication (2013).

9 comments:

Sadhana said...

Wonderful Marie-Therese,
I will certainly let students know and will add your site/blog link to my blog when I make the next entry.
What a talented and generous artist you are. I am so glad to have had the honour of working with you. Sadhana xx

Kristin Hoelscher-Schacker said...

Dear Marie-Therese, I've just pinned a link to your incredible glossary to my Pinterest board entitled Stitching Inspiration. I hope every single one of my 200+ followers does the same! What an open, sharing heart you have! We met last summer at the Surface Design Association Conference in Minnesota. I was working/volunteering Hospitality and so was disappointed not to be able to study with you, but when our paths cross again, I plan to make it work! I will also share your Glossary as a PDF with my Fiber Artists Study Group at the Textile Center in Minneapolis. Blessings, Kristin Hoelscher-Schacker

Jennifer Libby Fay said...

What a fabulous resource! Thank you Marie-Therese. I love to know the names and meanings of things. Houndstooth, Huckback, Hue…it reads like poetry!

Art Quill Studio said...

It is really important that when you blog, you reference the sources that you get your information from. I have always tried to give credit to those who have become before me. If I have failed I will correct it. This glossary is - as I have tried to acknowledge - a small effort on my behalf. I am so proud to name those who have become before me and worked so hard to keep you - the interested - so learned about the many terms and fabrics. I raise my glass to them.
Marie-Therese Wisniowski

meditrina hospital india said...

Very nice and creative design I love this art very much you have mention very nicely everything abt this art, Thank you for post.

Art Quill Studio said...

Thank you for your kind comment. I am so pleased that you are enjoying the artworks and posts.
Marie-Therese

kareena Shaikh said...

Very nice post. very good point to point description abt stitching..love the post very much.
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Art Quill Studio said...

Thank you for your kind comment Kareena. I am so pleased that you are enjoying the information in the posts. Information is continually being added to the Glossary so come back and spend some time when you can !
Marie-Therese

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Great work and useful post.