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Glossary of Asian Culture - P

Pagoda: An architectural structure that resembles a tiered tower commonly found in China, Japan, Vietnam and Korea. Associated with Taoist tradition, most pagodas have religious functions. Many pagodas have a finial at the very top that has religious symbolic meanings.

Panko: Japanese bread crumbs with a light and crunchy texture often used to coat foods prior to frying.

Patchouli: A mint herbal plant native to the tropical countries in Asia. Its essential oils are often used in aromatic products such as incense and aroma oils. It has medicinal purpose and has been used against snake bites. Its scent also repels insects.

Peacock: Originating from India, the male peafowl is especially prized throughout Asia for the ornate eye-like design of his blue, green, gold and purple feathers. The symbol of China's Ming Dynasty, peacocks are celebrated in poems, paintings and other artworks.

Peony: A type of flower. Peony is the national emblem of China and is often used in symbolic art. It carries the symbol of wealth and riches, and is called the “flower of riches and honor.”

Pewter: Moldable metal alloy made mostly of tin and small portion of copper and other materials. Highly versatile, pewter was first used to create tableware and other artifacts in China around the 17th century. Still used to make jewelry, charms and ornaments.

Phoenix: A mythical bird of fire that is a symbol of rebirth. In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is a symbol of virtue and grace and is usually paired with dragon. Phoenixes are associated with females while dragons are associated with males.

Pickled Ginger: Popular Japanese condiment comprised of ginger pickled in a vinegar and sugar solution. Varieties called gari are often served with accompanies sushi. Beni shoga pickled ginger is served in small thin strips with meat and rice dishes.

An evergreen species of tree that withstand cold winters with cones and needle like leaves. There are pine species all over the world. In East Asia, pines are also often found in traditional paintings as a part of the scenery.

Plum Blossom: the flowers of certain species of trees found China, Japan and other Asian countries. The blossoms appear in winter and range in color from red and pink to white. Plum blossoms commonly portrayed in Asian art, clothing and tableware.

Polychromatic: It is a term that means multicolored. It is sometimes used to refer to ceramics of several different colors.

Prefectures: State-like regions that divide countries including Japan into distinct jurisdictions.

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