provenance [prov-uh-nuh ns, -nahns]
1. The place of origin or earliest known history of something.
1a. The beginning of something's existence; something's origin.
2. A record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.
After conducting tests, the hand's provenance and significance came into sharper focus. (Sam Blum, 3,500-Year-Old Swiss Relic Might Be Europe's Oldest Bronze Sculpture, Popular Mechanics)
Yet while the rather scholarly debates over dating and provenance might animate the geologists, that day would be remembered not for these petty theatrics, but for an address Powell delivered. (John F. Ross, Taming the Great American Desert)
The Garuḍa may itself be of Persian provenance, for birds play a considerable part in Persian mythology. (Charles Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 3 (of 3)
(...plus, any episode of the TV show Antiques Roadshow, where it is often heard and usually followed by a valuation with a skyrocketing number of zeros attached....)
Late 18th century: from French, from the verb provenir 'come or stem from', from Latin provenire, from pro- 'forth' + venire 'come'. (Oxford English Dictionary)