History of pottery in the world

It is difficult to identify exactly when the world’s first ceramic objects were born. Probably about 10,000 years ago, after the invention of fire, people learned that clay under the influence of the heat of fire will change color and harden, it can be used to create simple objects in daily life to store drinking water or food.
The production of ceramic materials in different regions of the earth develops differently from place to place, depending greatly on the quality of local raw materials and the completion of the processing and smelting stages.

Middle East

The oldest earthenware were found in the Middle East is about 7000 BC. Their shape was modeled after woven baskets. It is possible that people first plastered the wicker baskets and let them dry, then devised a way to use only clay for shaping and firing.
The invention of the turntable (3000 BC) was a revolutionary technical advance in the shaping of ceramics, which facilitated the rich development of product shapes as well as various decorative techniques.
It can be said that the history of pottery is closely related to the history of human society. Based on the materials, shapes and decorative techniques of pottery, it is possible to determine the level of development of a community at a certain period in history.
The word “ceramics” means ceramic, which comes from the Greek word “keramos” meaning “fired object”. Today in Athens, Greece still has a neighborhood called Kerameikos, where in the past people produced pottery. The technique of making Greek and Etrurian pottery was later adopted by the Romans and flourished.
Production of construction ceramics, especially colored glazed tiles, appeared in the Middle East and around 2000 BC. Around 500 BC the churches and palaces of the Middle East were paved with bricks that are still admired today. Following in the footsteps of the Arabs, the technique of producing glazed tiles spread to Spain.

 Ceramic vase of greek (source: Internet)



In China, pottery appeared around 6000 BC, so that is later than the early period of pottery in the Middle East. It is possible that thanks to the old story. King Yao ceded the throne to Thuan (Choun, 2255-2207 BC) who also knew how to make pottery and bricks. The Great Wall of China was repaired by Qin Shi Huang (221 B.C.E.) and connected with bricks and stones. The Great Wall of China was built to prevent the Ho  people(胡人) from encroaching on it. The Ho people rode horses, but horses did not climb the wall. can be done. The Great Wall of China is more than 2000 years old and still exists.
In the 6th century BC, the Chinese invented porcelain, which was produced from the soil of the Qinling mountains. This is essentially a type of kaolin with a high mineral content of kaolinite, and the name Qinling is the origin of the words kaolin and the mineral kaolinite later. According to some other documents primitive porcelain (protoporcelain) may have been invented in China much earlier, in 1258 BC. This porcelain, which has a solid bone, has a green-yellow glaze, is now considered an intermediate form between stone and porcelain crockery. The Chinese later invented birth-green porcelain with a firing temperature of about 1320°C (AD 221 to 206 BC) and white bone china (AD 550 to 577).
Early Chinese porcelain could not be of this quality, but it has been gradually improved in the production process. During the Tang Dynasty (960-1127), there was Ding-jao (Bach Dinh) porcelain, a white bone china decorated with patterns by stacking seals and clear glaze. Part of the clear enamel mixes with the bone, so in the intermediate region, it is not known which is bone and which is enamel. At this time, we still remember that Du Fu wrote a poem praising the porcelain tea cup made in Yuezhou, praising that:
“Skin as white as snow,
Voice as clear as jade”
By the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), porcelain was produced with a quality comparable to today’s European porcelain, while the technique of shaping and decorating porcelain continued to be perfected. The fall of the Ming dynasty led to the decline of porcelain production. During the Qing Dynasty, after achieving political and economic stability, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Chinese porcelain profession recovered and developed to its peak. Porcelain produced has good quality, high technical and artistic level, exported to all over the world.

Ming Dynasty ceramic set (source: Internet)

Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia

Pottery and later Chinese porcelain had a great influence on the surrounding countries, especially the Northeast Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. Porcelain production was imported from China to Korea, then Japan.
The Koreans imitated the Chinese in making celadon porcelain.
In Japan, production of ceramics began in the 16th century, in the city of Arita, following So-zui’s trip to China in 1511. Arita porcelain flourished in the 17th century after its collapse. of the Ming dynasty in China, originally mainly produced by Korean emigrants. The Japanese have imitated making Akae, Temmoku, red ceramic, green ceramic. Arita today is still the center of famous Japanese porcelain production.
The Thai people imitated making celadon porcelain, calling it Sawankalok.

Celadon ceramic today (Vietnamese traditional ceramic village-Bat Trang)


The export of Chinese porcelain to European countries began quite early, probably from the sea voyages of Admiral Zheng He (Cheng He, 1371-1435). Around the end of the 15th century, the beginning of the 16th century, blue-flowered porcelain decorated under glaze (ie white bone porcelain, decorated with blue color of cobalt oxide, also known as blue Hui, this color was brought to China by the Hui Muslims to China. Ming dynasty) entered Europe via the sea route around Africa. Porcelain was also exported via the Silk Road from China through India to Europe. Chinese porcelain is soft porcelain, white bone and clear, firing temperature is about 1280-1350°C.
In Europe, porcelain in the past was very precious and rare. Luxury porcelain tableware in 17th and 18th century European courts imported from China cost as much as gold, so Europeans tried to imitate Asian porcelain production. In the process of research, before figuring out how to produce porcelain, the Europeans created majolica and faience crockery.
Majolico is an enameled crockery made in Spain, imported into Italy and Europe via the island of Mallorca, hence the name majolico. The majolica crockery is coated with a layer of opaque glaze (tin glaze) as a base, then painted with decorative colors and then coated with a second layer of colorless transparent glaze (lead glaze) to create gloss for the product after firing.
The majolica is very popular with Italians. By the middle of the 15th century, majolica was being produced very strongly in Italy itself. The white glaze makes maijolica products very similar to Chinese porcelain imported to Europe through the port of Venice. The Tuscan city of Faenza, near Bologne, was the leading producer of majolica at the time, from which the locally produced crockery was called faience. The word faience is commonly used in France and Germany, and in the Netherlands this type of crockery is called Delft after the city of manufacture. Faience has a white spongy bone, also coated with two layers of enamel, underneath is a layer of opaque glaze. white (tin enamel) and above is a clear glaze (lead enamel). Due to the same production techniques, it is difficult to distinguish between majolica and faience, as well as knowing their origin if the manufacturer does not label the product.
Faience crockery developed especially in France and the Netherlands during the 17th century. The most famous is the crockery produced in the city of Delft, the Netherlands, called “Delft Blau” (Delft blue), which is a type of glazed crockery. white background then decorated with oriental motifs or European motifs on top. Delft blue crockery was produced very strongly between 1640-1706, is of very high quality, thin-walled, at first glance looks like Chinese porcelain.
In England, an island country separated from the European continent, the trend of ceramic production is more or less in the direction of developing faience porcelain as in the mainland. A type of pottery, which is a stony crock, which has better bone mass and is harder than ordinary crockery, has been discovered and used. The pinnacle was the work of the famous ceramic maker Josiah Wedgwood in the second half of the 18th century. He worked on producing a white bone-stone crockery. The quality is almost like porcelain.
Stoneware also flourished in continental Europe in the last decades of the 18th century. With the advantage of better quality, stoneware gradually pushed out faience from the market. The colored bone-stone crockery produced by Bottger’s method was very popular and was imitated in many productions.


Johana Friedrich Bottger

The inventor of European porcelain and applied this invention to industrial production was Johana Friedrich Bottger. He was originally an alchemist, researched to smelt other metals into gold, and of course did not succeed. Some time later he was assigned the task of building a factory to produce colored bone stoneware (in 1707). He reinvented porcelain in 1709, Bottger porcelain is a hard porcelain, a mixture of 50% kaolin, 25% white agar, 25% sand, firing temperature about 1450°C. The first porcelain factory in Europe was built in Meissen (in today’s Dresden, Germany) in 1710 and operated by Bottger.
Although appearing for a long time, the technology of porcelain production is kept very secret. In 1756, in Vincennes in France, people also found out how to make porcelain almost like Chinese porcelain and later Sevres porcelain kilns continued to produce according to the method found so far.
The word Porcelain (porcelain) is derived from the word porcella, a conch with a beautiful shell that resembles porcelain. The common concept of ancient Europeans was that in order to make a dish, it was necessary to mix porcella snails to make it.
After a long time keeping the composition and production technology secret, a few decades later, the technology of hard porcelain production has spread to other European countries. Thus porcelain has been produced in Europe, however, due to the high technical and artistic level, it is still very expensive compared to stoneware, only the rich can buy it, so the consumption is still high. limited. The first porcelain factory in Meissen during the Bottger period (1710-1719) had to produce both porcelain (an expensive new product) and colored bone-stone crockery (a high-class ceramic product popular in the market)
By putting into industrial production, applying new innovations, inventions, new equipment, porcelain with its preeminent properties has become cheaper, repelling stoneware and dominating the market for ceramic products. more advanced ceramic products after the 19th century.


Important timeline

The milestones in the development of ceramic industry since Bottger’s invention of hard porcelain in 1709 can be summarized as follows:
1720 Improved Bottger kiln in Vienna (Austria).
1745 Ralph Daniel uses plaster molds to make shapes by hand in Staffordshire, England.
1780 Invention of pouring technology (without electrolytes) at Tournai.
1797 The first two-stage direct-fired circular furnace was built in Berlin, Germany.
1802 First round furnace in Vienna, Austria and 1917 in Meissen, Germany
1809 Invention of press forming technology for the manufacture of ceramic buttons in Potter, Sevres, France.
1816 Launch of 5 manually operated filter stirrers in Meissen, Germany.
1940 Denmark patents Tunnel kilns to H.Jordt and M.H. Holler.
1851 Put into operation 2 mechanical mixers in Meissen, Germany.
1853 Invention of the semi-frame filter press
1855 Application of knife forming technology sold on a turntable in Ballay, Sevres, France. J.F.Boch designed the circular furnace.
1860 First test of gas fuel combustion for a circular furnace at Vernier, Klasteree, Czech Republic.
1870 Launch of crusher in Alsing, Sweden.
1875 Orsat invented the gas composition analyzer.
1878 The first ceramic mixer is displayed in Paris, France.
1878 The first three-story island furnace was built in Berlin, Germany.
1882 Thermometers are first used in Sevres, France
1886 using a thermometer at Seger, Berlin.
1890 Soda electrolyte is used to facilitate the wide application of red pouring technology in Goetz, Karrlovy, Vary, Czech Republic.

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