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History of Pottery and Ceramics

Updated on May 26, 2016
Ancient Pottery
Ancient Pottery | Source

Art works discovered in archaeological sites showed that the history of pottery and ceramic existed from the prehistoric period, and our early ancestors seemed to make similar objects and works of art with basic painted designs or crudely inscribed etchings and inscriptions.

And as communal cultures evolved and basic but simple requirements increased, each developed culture began to develop their own individual creative expressions which resulted in an awesome array of artistic forms and features.

Different Types of Ceramics

There are three different types of ceramics and each type is essentially based on the physical properties of the clay used.

The three classifications are:

  1. Earthenware
  2. Porcelain
  3. China

Earthenware | Source

Earthenware Ceramics Made From Potter's Clay

Earthenware is made from almost any basic clay material that's often found at riverbeds. It can be shaped and moulded easily, or turned on a potter’s wheel, hence its description as potters clay.

Earthenware can be fired at relatively low temperatures and if subjected to higher temperatures, it becomes harder and denser.

The colour of earthenware ceramics depends on the geographical location of where it’s found and the chemistry of each clay deposit. Natural colours vary from a pale washed-out tan, to deep reds and brown shades, and like all ceramics can be glazed or unglazed.

Ancient Porcelain Ceramic
Ancient Porcelain Ceramic | Source

Porcelain Ceramics

It is believed that authentic porcelain may have its roots in China, where during the 9th century it is claimed that she exported true porcelain to Mesopotamia.

The mastering of porcelain production was not achieved until the first decade of the 18th century at Meissen in Germany.

The material composition of porcelain ceramics is more complex than earthenware and is composed of kaolin and petuntse. Kaolin is a form of 'decayed' granite and is used in conjunction with petuntse, an equally decayed feldspathic rock.

Porcelain ceramics are fired at quite high temperatures by vitrifying the two components to form an exceedingly hard and translucent clear white ceramic.

Porcelain Art Work
Porcelain Art Work | Source
China Ware Ceramics
China Ware Ceramics | Source

China Ceramics

China ceramics possesses qualities of both earthenware ceramics and Porcelain. This form of ceramic has opaque qualities, just like earthenware, but is more resilient because of the inclusion of some amount of animal bone ash in its material components.

When compared to porcelain, China ceramic art pieces are not as strong and hard due to the fact that it is fired with a less intense heat than is required for porcelain.

China ceramics are classic art pieces that has (and still is) been mostly been put into practical use and its enhancing qualities is why it's commonly used in the making of everyday household tableware, and beautiful dinner sets and objects of home décor such as urns, vases and figurines.

Popular Works of Ceramic Art

Ceramic art forms are used extensively in one form or another all around the world. Their use as essential household items such as water pots, plant urns, platters, tea sets, medicine jars, wine pitchers, etc.., since ancient times reminds us that ceramic art and the making of pottery marks our first tangible expression of our emergence from a primitive state of life, to becoming a 'member' of a civilized society.

© 2011 artsofthetimes


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    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 5 years ago from India

      Interesting and Useful article, Rated UP. Thanks for sharing :)

    • artsofthetimes profile image

      artsofthetimes 5 years ago

      Thank you Dilipchandra,

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