SAH Archipedia uses terms from the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) to categorize and classify metadata for the entries in the database. For more information on the Getty AAT, click here

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An extrusive acid igneous rock that is sometimes partly glassy and is composed of plagioclase and quartz with biotite, hornblende, or pyroxene.


Woven figured textile with one warp and one weft in which the pattern is formed by a contrast of binding systems, and appears on the face and the back in reverse positions.


Material, such as plaster or mud, used with wattle as a building material.

deciduous trees

Trees which seasonally shed leaves.


A heavy, twill-woven, warp-flush textile.

detergent (cleaning compound)

Any cleaning agent used to remove foreign matter from soiled surfaces. Typically made from synthetic materials, distinguishing it from soap, which is created from fats and oils.

diamond black

A form of carbon black that is an aniline pigment, in which a primary aromatic amine, aniline, is converted into a diazonium salt that is an intermediate in the preparation of dyes.

diamond mesh lath

An expanded metal mesh material used in construction as a base for plaster on vertical surfaces.

diaper (textile material)

Self-patterned textile with a small rectilinear pattern formed by contrasting the weave's warp and weft faces.

diatomaceous earth

An soft, whitish, absorbent powder derived from the siliceous skeletons of microscopic water plants called diatoms, composed of 88% silica. It is used as a poultice, a desiccating insecticide, a decolorizer and filtration aid for purifying oils, fats, and waxes, an inert pigment, a filler in paper, paint, brick, floor tiles, ceramics, linoleum, plastic, soap, and detergent, an insulation for boilers and blast furnaces, as sound insulation, and as a very mild abrasive in metal polishes and toothpaste. It reduces gloss, acts as a suspending agent, increases viscosity, and absorbs dyes well, thus is used as a base for lake colors.

dimension lumber

Lumber cut to a particular size and stocked for the building industry; usually 2 to 5 inches thick and 5 to 12 inches wide.

dimension stone

Stone finished to a specific size and weight and squared to specific dimensions and thickness.


A hard, coarse-grain, black-and-white speckled, granite-like rock composed of plagioclase feldspar mixed with hornblende, biotite, and augite, sometimes with small amounts of orthoclase or quartz. Diorite was valued by the Egyptians and Sumerians for statuary and is presently used in building construction.

direct metal sculpture

Sculpture that is constructed of metal using such processes as welding, hammering, and soldering as opposed to casting.


Facilities where the distilling and blending of spirits is carried on, including processes by which evaporation of water and subsequent condensation of the alcoholic beverage is achieved.

dogwood (wood)

Wood of trees belonging to the genus Cornus. Although dogwoods are primarily grown as an ornamental trees, their fine-grained wood is hard and heavy, ranging in color from yellow to pinkish-brown, and has been used for small ornamental items and utilitarian objects such as skate rollers, golf club heads, pulleys, hammer handles, and in the textile industry for shuttles and spindles.

dolomite (mineral)

A common rock-forming mineral.

Doric order

Refers to the architectural order characterized by columns generally without bases, relatively simple capitals, and a frieze composed of alternating triglyphs and metopes.

double-hung windows

Windows having two vertically sliding sashes, each closing a different part of the window; the weight of each sash is counter-balanced for ease of opening and closing.

Douglas fir (wood)

Wood from trees of the genus Pseudotsuga.

drain tile

Ceramic tile, usually in short-length sections, used for constructing water drains.

dressed lumber

Lumber machined and surfaced at a mill.

dressed stone

Dimension stone with a smooth exposed face.


Wood floating on water, or that has been cast ashore.

dry mortar

In masonry, mortar which contains enough moisture to cause it to set properly but is not wet enough to cause it to be sticky.

dry walls (masonry)

Masonry walls constructed without mortar.

Dryopteris (genus)

Genus containing about 250 species of fern.


A compound -- generally a complex organic material that dissolves or is suspended in a liquid -- that absorbs into and colors another material. Distinguished from a pigment, which is insoluble in the vehicle, but instead is held in a suspension.


Blasting explosive made with a mixture of nitroglycerin and other inert absorptive substance. Detonated by heat or percussion.