Select a letter from the list to display relevant words from the Glossary.

  • abrasive

    something rough, like sand, which can be rubbed against something else to make it smooth

  • abundance

    a lot of, a great amount

  • administrator

    a person who is an organiser or manager

  • agate

    a semi-precious striped stone; a type of quartz

  • alkali

    the opposite of acid in chemistry

  • altar

    a table or raised structure used in religious practice

  • anaemia

    a disease where a person has abnormal red blood cells

  • aventurine

    a semi-precious quartz (type of stone) with many reflective particles

  • backed-on

    a way of fixing one piece of glass to another, back to back

  • blowpipe

    a hollow pipe used to blow air into glass

  • bronze

    a metal made by mixing copper and tin; Chinese bronze also contains a little lead

  • Buddha

    the founder of the Buddhist religion

  • Buddha’s hand citron

    a type of citrus fruit that looks like fingers, sometimes called finger-lemon

  • Buddhism

    one of the six main world religions

  • calligraphy

    the art of writing

  • carved

    making a shape by cutting

  • carved in relief

    cut away to create a raised design

  • cased glass

    when one layer of glass is inside another

  • celadon

    a soft green-coloured glaze (coating which protects a ceramic object); it is made by firing (baking) an iron-based glaze at a high temperature

  • censer

    a container used for burning incense

  • ceramic

    an object made of clay that has been fired (baked hard)

  • chalcedony

    a type of semi-precious stone; a type of quartz with very fine crystals, often grey or blue in colour

  • character

    the symbols used in Chinese writing

  • chopsticks

    a pair of sticks used for eating food, especially in China and Japan

  • cicada

    a large, noisy insect that can live up to 17 years

  • Confucius

    an ancient Chinese philosopher (thinker); born 551BC, died 479 BC

  • corruption

    dishonest and illegal behaviour

  • crizzling

    when glass gets spoilt because it decays, a process of glass decay

  • Dalai Lama

    the leader of Tibetan Buddhism

  • Daoism

    a Chinese religious philosophy (way of thinking)

  • diamond point engraving

    a way of cutting a design with the point of a diamond

  • ding

    an ancient Chinese bronze vessel with three legs used for cooked food

  • domestic

    of the home, household

  • dynasty

    a series of rulers from the same family

  • Emperor

    title of the ruler of China

  • enamel

    a type of paint or painting that uses ground coloured glass

  • engraved

    a design is scratched or carved into a surface

  • evergreen

    a tree or plant that keeps its leaves all year round

  • facet-cut

    a technique of cutting away at an object leaving many flat surfaces

  • fang hu

    an ancient Chinese bronze vessel with a square shape

  • foot-ring

    a simple base for a vessel consisting of a ring

  • glaze

    a protective shiny coating used to make something (especially a ceramic) waterproof or to give colour

  • gourd

    a hard shelled fruit, similar to a pumpkin, sometimes with a shape like the number 8

  • grave goods

    objects buried with a dead person

  • gu

    an ancient Chinese bronze vessel used for drinking wine

  • gui

    an ancient Chinese bronze vessel used to hold food in religious rituals

  • hu

    an ancient Chinese bronze vessel used to hold wine

  • huqqah

    a pipe used for smoking, with a water container and a long flexible pipe

  • immortal

    living forever, never dying

  • incense

    something that smells nice when it is burnt

  • incise

    cutting into something with a sharp tool

  • jade

    a type of very hard semiprecious stone, the common name for the minerals jadeite and nephrite

  • Jesuit

    a member of a Catholic group called the Society of Jesus, founded in France in 1534; they were known for their missionary work overseas

  • Jiaqing

    Emperor of China from 1796 to 1820

  • Kangxi

    Emperor of China from 1662 to 1722

  • lacquer

    a hard, glossy coating made from the sap of a tree (rhus verniciflua), often coloured red or black

  • Li Bai

    one of the greatest poets of the Tang dynasty (618-907); born 701, died 762

  • marble

    a hard type of stone with mottled colours

  • marquetry

    a way of putting patches of differently coloured glass onto a glass vessel and then carving bits away to create a design

  • marver

    a hard, smooth surface for rolling hot glass on, used in glassmaking

  • marvering

    rolling hot glass against against a hard smooth surface (a marver); used to embed pieces of coloured glass into hot glass

  • meiping

    a popular shape of Chinese vase; meiping means plum vase in Chinese; it has a narrow mouth, short neck and broad, high shoulders that curves down to its base

  • mould-blown

    blowing a bubble of glass into a mould

  • mythological

    not real, legendary

  • opaque

    not see-through

  • overlay

    a layer on top

  • patina

    a thin film on the surface of an object that develops with age; on bronze, this film is greenish-blue and called verdigris

  • peasant

    a member of a lower social class; poor farm workers were often called peasants in the past

  • pigment

    something that can be used as a colouring

  • pontil

    a rod used in glassmaking to hold the glass while it was being worked on; may leave a mark on the glass called a pontil mark

  • porcelain

    a type of ceramic made from crushed rock and clay; the body is usually white in colour and finely potted

  • press-moulded

    made in a two-part mould

  • Qianlong

    Emperor of China from 1736 to 1795

  • realgar

    a red and orange mineral, arsenic sulphide

  • reign

    the period of time for which an emperor, king or other ruler rules

  • reign-mark

    a set of four or six Chinese characters, often on the base of a Chinese object, which gives the name of the emperor in whose reign the object was made. Sometimes objects have false reign-marks, for example an early reign-mark may be put on an object made later.

  • scholar

    an educated person

  • sealmark

    a mark written in seal-script; a style of writing used in seals for signing personal or artistic names

  • serpentine

    a soft green or brownish red mineral with patterns similar to those of a snake’s skin

  • Silk Route

    a trade route bringing silk and other goods from China to Europe and taking goods back in exchange

  • snuff

    powdered tobacco sniffed up the nose

  • taotie

    ancient Chinese design of a monster’s head

  • technique

    a way of doing a particular task, method for making something

  • tortoiseshell

    the shell of a tortoise, mottled yellow and brown, used for making ornaments and jewellery

  • trade route

    a route over which objects are bought and sold, often used to get luxury items from around the world, like silk from China

  • transparent


  • wheel-cut

    a way of carving a design with something rough like sand (an abrasive) and the edge of a rotating wheel

  • yi

    an ancient Chinese bronze vessel used to pour water in ceremonies to honour ancestors

  • Yongzheng

    Emperor of China from 1723 to 1735

  • zun

    an ancient Chinese bronze vessel for holding wine