The term "joss" is a corruption of the Portuguese word, Deus, meaning God. The term developed in Chinese ports in Pidgin English, then was used in the West as if it were a Chinese word. In many western communities the Chinese erected temples, which Caucasians called "joss houses". "Joss stick" is in the same manner used as a word for sacrificial incense sticks placed in incense burners. In Chinese homes, a 'joss image'e.g. a figure of for example Guanyin was customarily on the family altar.