from the Greek
keramos meaning pottery.
Of or relating to the manufacture of, or any product such as earthenware,
porcelain, or brick, made essentially from a nonmetallic mineral
such as clay, by firing at a high temperature.
Clay is the basic material
of pottery and has two distinct characteristics - it can be moulded
and it hardens on firing to form a brittle but otherwise virtually
indestructible material that is not harmed by any of the corrosive
agents that attack metals or organic materials.
is made of clay and is permanently hardened by firing in a kiln.
The nature and type of pottery is determined by the composition
of the clay and the way it is prepared, the temperature at which
it is fired, and the glaze used. There are three basic types of
pottery; Earthenware, Stoneware and Porcelain.
Earthenware was the first
kind of pottery made, dating back about 9,000 years. In the 20th
century, it is still widely used. It is pottery that has not been
fired to the point of vitrification and is thus slightly porous
and coarser than stoneware and porcelain. It is made waterproof
by the application of a tin or clear glaze. Nearly all ancient,
medieval, Middle Eastern, and European painted ceramics are earthenware,
as is a great deal of contemporary household dinnerware.
Stoneware is pottery which
has been fired at a higher temperature than earthenware, such
as to partially vitrify the materials and make them impervious
to liquids even when unglazed. Stoneware is extremely strong and
as it is non-porous and does not require a glaze.
Porcelain was first made
in a primitive form in China, hence its common name china,
and is a vitrified pottery with a white, fine-grained body that
is usually translucent, as distinguished from earthenware which
is porous, opaque, and coarser. The word porcelain is derived
from porcellana, used by Marco Polo to describe the pottery
he saw in China. There are three types of porcelain - Hard Paste,
Soft Paste and Bone China.
Bone China is
a hard-paste porcelain containing bone ash. The initial development
of bone china is attributed to Josiah Spode the Second, who introduced
it around 1800. Bone china is stronger than hard-paste porcelain
and easier to manufacture. It is strong, does not chip easily,
and has an ivory-white appearance.