pottery(redirected from Ceramic wares)
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Types of Pottery
Methods of Production
Pottery of the Ancient Mediterranean
By 1500 B.C. the use of glazes, such as the famous greens and blues, was known in Egypt. Especially noteworthy is the early Aegean pottery of the Minoan and Mycenaean periods with its curvilinear, painted decoration. In Assyria and Neo-Babylonia, painted and glazed bricks were in common use. The Ishtar gate in Babylon, with its ceramic reliefs, is an early example of the majolica technique.
The Greek vases (800–300 B.C.), famous for symmetry of form and beauty of decoration, include red, black, and varicolored examples. The last were for tombs only, as the colors were painted, unfired, and easily marred. The red ware is decorated with black figures, or the ground is black and the figures shown red. Water, oil, and wine jars were numerous. Of the Greco-Roman wares, the Arretine or Samian, also a red ware, was molded after first being turned on the wheel to the size of the mold, which carried the decoration in intaglio.
Pottery of Asia
Painted pottery of the Neolithic period has been found in China. By the 2d cent. B.C. the Early Han period had developed a green glaze which may have come from the Middle East. In the Sui period (A.D. 581–618) and the T'ang period (618–906), porcelain and porcelaneous ware (the envy of the Western world) began to be made and exported to Korea and Japan and to the Islamic world. Technical knowledge, however, was not exchanged, and Islam made no true porcelain.
Islamic pottery making was centered at Baghdad in the 10th cent. Blue and green clear glazes were used, and lusterware was first employed as an overglaze. Lusterware was highly developed under the Fatimites in Egypt (969–1171), and the technique continued in use at major pottery centers over the centuries that followed. During the 13th cent. Mongol domination of Persia brought renewed Chinese influence to Islamic pottery making. Fine examples of Hispano-Moorish pottery date from the 14th cent. Islamic architecture in the 15th cent. utilized ceramic tile in immense quantities, as on the Blue Mosque at Tabriz.
Pottery of Europe
Pottery of the Americas
Prehistoric pottery found in Peru, Mexico, and the SW United States reveals a high degree of skill in color, form, and decorative motifs. Baked-clay work by colonists in North America began in 1612 with the making of bricks and tiles in Virginia and Pennsylvania. In these states and among the Dutch settlers of New York, potteries were soon established. The first whiteware was made in 1684. A stoneware factory was opened in New York in 1735, and c.1750 the Jugtown pottery of North Carolina was first produced. Terra-cotta works were operating in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania after the middle of the 18th cent. Palatinate refugees produced slip-decorated and graffito earthenware, and their product formed the foundation of Shenandoah pottery.
In Philadelphia fine china was made (1769) for the first time in America. The potteries of Bennington, Vt., which opened in 1793, were known especially for their stoneware jugs; a variety of stoneware was also produced in several locations in New York state. East Liverpool, Ohio, since 1839 one of the foremost centers of the industry, produced the first American Rockingham ware. Also widely produced in the United States were redware, ironstone, and yellowware. Another center, begun in 1852 at Trenton, N.J., made fine Belleek or eggshell china. The Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia and the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago did much to awaken native consciousness of pottery as a form of art.
See L. A. Boger, The Dictionary of World Pottery and Porcelain (1970); W. E. Cox, Book of Pottery and Porcelain (2 vol., rev. ed. 1970); E. Cooper, A History of Pottery (1973); G. Savage and H. Newman, An Illustrated Dictionary of Ceramics (1974); R. Fournier, The Illustrated Dictionary of Pottery Decoration (1986).
the production of dishes, toys, lamps, brick, roofing tile, tile, and other objects from fired clay. The words goncharstvo(pottery), gonchar(gor”nchar; potter), and gorshok (gornets; pot) are derived from the Russian word gorn(kiln).
Discovered during the early Neolithic, pottery greatly enhanced man’s chances in the struggle for survival by making it possible to cook his food. In this sense pottery may be ranked with such great inventions as the use of fire, and according to the classification of Morgan and Engels, marks the transition from the wild to the barbaric stage. By the 15th through 17th centuries, an overwhelming majority of the world’s settled peoples had mastered the craft of pottery. Inhabitants of regions devoid of pottery clay (Polynesia), many nomadic tribes of Central and Middle Asia, and also Australians, Bushmen, inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, and some hunting tribes of Southeast Asia, northwestern America, and California, whose production forces were at a low level of development, were an exception.
Primitive pottery was a domestic production (in some tribes practiced mainly by women). Probably the earliest methods of preparing of vessels were to smear clay on the inside of woven baskets (which burned away when fired) or to “scratch out” bowls from whole lumps of clay. Other primitive ways to make vessels were to hollow out a lump of clay by placing it on a block and pounding it with a mallet, to model them from flat pieces of clay, and to build the walls with rows of clay coils or with spiral coils. The last two methods were dominant during transition to the craft method when potters began using a potter’s wheel and later a pottery kiln (formerly the articles were fired in an open fire or baked in the house oven). Professional potters appeared at different times among various peoples, but always at the stage of dissolution of the primitive communal societies and the rise of a class society (first in ancient Sumeria at the end of 4000 B.C.). The assortment and shapes of pottery wares reflect the characteristics of the everyday life and culture of peoples. The decoration of articles by painting, embossed ornaments, varnishing, and glazing is an important branch of folk art.
REFERENCESVoevodskii, M. V. “K izucheniu goncharnoi tekhniki pervobytno-kommunisticheskogo obshchestva . . . .” Sovetskaia arkheo-logiia, 1936, no. 1.
Lips, I. Proiskhozhdenie veshchei. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from German.)
M. G. RABINOVICH