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Interesting about tableware and ceramics

What is Ceramic (KERAMIKA)

KERAMIKA (from Greek ϰεραμιϰὴ τέχνη – pottery, from ϰέραμος – clay), products and materials obtained usually by sintering clays and their mixtures with mineral additives as well as oxides and other inorganic compounds. Clays and their mixtures, natural minerals, as well as synthetic compounds (e.g. oxides, carbides, nitrides, borides, silicides of metals) are used in production of compounds. A catalyst is often named after the minerals or chemical compounds used, e.g. corundum, steatite, titanium, boron nitride, etc. Depending on the composition of the feedstock and the manufacturing process, ceramic materials with different properties and porosity are produced. By designation are distinguished building ceramics (bricks, tiles, tiles, sewage and drainage pipes, sanitary ware), household and artistic ceramics. It also includes household and art ceramics (terracotta, majolica, faience, masonry, porcelain), technical ceramics (electrical insulating, radio engineering, piezo-ceramics, etc.) and refractory ceramics (used in heating units and so on). (By structure they are classified as rough with a porosity of 5-95% (construction and refractories) and fine (dense) with a porosity of less than 5% (artistic, domestic and technical).

Types of ceramics

Depending on their structure, a distinction is made between fine-grained (vitreous or fine-grained) and coarse-grained (coarse grained) ceramics. The main types of fine ceramics are porcelain, semi-porcelain, clay-stone mass, chamotte, faience, majolica. The main type of coarse ceramics is pottery.

In addition, there are carbide ceramics (tungsten carbide, silicon carbide), alumina, zirconia (based on ZrO2), nitride (based on AlN), etc.

Porcelain has a dense fused structure of white color (sometimes with bluish shade) with low water absorption (up to 0,2 %). When tapped it produces high melodious sound, it may show through in thin layers. The glaze does not cover the edge of the edge or the base of the porcelain piece. The raw materials for porcelain are kaolin, sand, feldspar and other additives.

Porcelain has a porous white shingle with a yellowish tint, the porosity of the piece is 9 – 12%. Because of porosity products of faience are completely covered with colorless glaze of low heat resistance. Faience is used for the production of tableware for everyday use. Raw materials for the production of faience are white burnt clay with the addition of chalk and quartz sand.

Semi-porcelain has intermediate properties between porcelain and faience, white shards, water absorption of 3-5%, it is used in the production of tableware.

Majolica has a porous crocks, water absorption about 15%, the products have a smooth surface, luster, small thickness of the walls, are covered with color glazes and can have a decorative relief decoration. Casting is used for making majolica. Raw materials are white-burning clay (faience majolica) or red-burning clay (pottery majolica), melts, chalk, quartz sand.

Pottery has a red-brown color shingle (red-burning clay is used), with high porosity and water absorption up to 18%. Products can be covered with colorless glazes, painted with colored clay paints – engobes.


Moulding mass preparation – preparation of powders of initial components (with the required particle size) by grinding or chemical methods, mixing powders with each other and with temporary liquid technological binder (o-rings, water, organic polymers, plasticizers, plasticizers); making blanks (semi-finished product) of required shape and size by different moulding methods; removal of o-rings by different moulding methods. Binder (VTS; water, organic polymers, plasticizers); making blanks (semi-finished product) of desired shape and size by various methods of molding; removing VTS (drying, annealing); roasting (sintering) to strengthen and obtain ceramic products. Traditional types of CC are manufactured on the basis of clay and natural minerals, technical CC are usually made of synthetic materials, which are fired in various gases (air, nitrogen, hydrogen, argon, helium, etc.) or in a vacuum; sometimes hot pressing, microwave (high frequency) heating is used, as well as sol-gel processes, self-propagating high temperature synthesis, etc.

Ceramic masses are used for moulding in the form of powdery, plastic (up to 50% of the liquid HTS) and liquid flowing – foundry slikers (50-70% of the HTS). Casting slurries (concentrated suspensions) are prepared from nonplastic powders by adding thermoplastic substances (e.g., paraffin, wax), oleic acid and some surfactants, which are subsequently removed.

The choice of the K. formation method is determined primarily by the shape of the products. For molding ceramic workpieces use: pressing of powders, molding of plastic masses (extrusion, rolling, prepressing, turning) or the casting of the fluid masses. The molded products are dried (in the case of water-soluble binder) or burned with organic binder.

The firing of K. is an important technological process, which provides the required degree of sintering. If the firing process is followed accurately, the material has the required phase composition and properties. A specific firing temperature is typical for each type of CG: for example, construction materials are fired at a temperature of 0.3° C to 0.3° C. Each type of CG is characterized by its own specific firing temperature: e.g., constructional CG is fired at about 900 °C. For example, building ceramics are fired at about 900 °C, and refractory ceramics at about 2,000 °C. Depending on the composition of the ceramic mass and the firing temperature, sintering can occur either with the liquid phase (in porcelain, steatite and other products up to 50% by mass or more) or without the liquid phase (e.g. in corundum Cr.). Solid phase sintering, which became widespread in the production of technical CC on the basis of pure oxides and oxygen-free compounds, takes place at higher temperatures than sintering with the liquid phase. As a result of sintering the size of the products decreases, and their mechanical strength and density increase. Some types of CG are coated with glaze, which melts at high temperatures (1000-1400°C) before firing, forming a vitreous water- and gas-tight layer. It is used to decorate farm and artist’s artifacts with ceramic ornaments. Ceramic is decorated with ceramic paints and gold. To give the surfaces of technical articles some special properties, ceramic coatings are applied, which improve their erosion and chemical resistance and provide their optical, electrical, catalytic and other performances.


The earliest (29-19 thousand years ago) products from burnt clay – images of people and animals, are known from the Upper Palaeolithic period (e.g. Dolní Věstonice and Prshedmosti in Moravia, Maininskaya site in South Siberia). The real development of the K. began in the Mesolithic (epipaleolithic) and the wide spread of the K. in the Neolithic (for some cultures the appearance of the K. is one of the main signs of the beginning of a new epoch). At that time the main kinds of ceramics were formed – building, household, decorative; practically all main ways of ornamentation (graphic, painted, sculptural) and surface treatment (including glossing, engobing) emerged.

Technological methods of making ceramic vessels, directly connected with the ideas about raw materials, the role of impurities, ways of making vessels strong and waterproof, were changing according to the evolution of pottery. Shapes and their set, ornaments and other characteristics of K. became an important feature of ancient cultures. These characteristics are one of the most important grounds for distinguishing archaeological cultures. Pottery traditions were formed independently in several hearths.

Apparently, the earliest ceramic vessels (not later than 12-10 thousand years ago) were spread in East Asia. On the Japanese Islands, the oldest K. On Japanese Islands, the most ancient K. was found on Fukui settlement and others, preceding Jomon culture; in Russia – on the Lower Amur (Gasya settlement and others), Vitim Plateau in the East Siberia (Ust-Karenga settlement); in China – on Yuchanyan settlement (Daoxian District, Hunan Province south), probably, Chalainor (Inner Mongolia) and others. As a rule, early East Asian K. has rounded bottom, relief surface with stroke, rope impressions or grooved impressions, often with the simplest ornamentation.

On the territory of China the oldest K.. In the territory of China the oldest K. is dated from the 8th to the middle of the 6th millennium B.C. to the present day. B.C. (e.g., Xianzhendong settlement, Pentoushan settlement group). In Early Neolithic cultures K. is known in all main centers of agriculture (Peiligang, Laoguantai etc.); it becomes thin-walled, tripods (vessels on three “legs”), vessels on solid and hollow trays, kettles with “ears”, “flasks” with flat bottoms etc. spread; for numerous cultures of Middle Neolithic it is typical painted ceramics.

In North Africa (Central Sahara), the oldest pottery is attributed to the Epipaleolithic: pottery. Vessels from Tagalagal settlement (radiocarbon dates 9370 ± 130, 9330 ± 130 years ago) have rounded bottom, short, sometimes slightly bent corolla, wavy lines drawn by comb, spirals, broken lines, coloured irregular stripes or lines; vessels from settlements near the Tadrart-Akakus granite massif (8640 ± 70, 8070 ± 100 years ago) are decorated with dots, grouped into wavy lines. A little later date the K. from the western Egyptian desert (near the dried up lakes of Nabta-Kiseiba; the end of the 8th and the 1st half of the 7th millennium B.C.), decorated with stripes in the form of long commas. In the Nile valley the most ancient K. belongs to the Mesolithic culture of Khartoum in its early stages.

In Egypt K. is known since the beginning of the Neolithic period (not earlier than the middle of the 6th millennium B.C.) – cultures of Faiyum A, Merimda Beni Salam, Omari and Maadi (K. of the latter two are close to Jericho). The development of K. in Egypt took place within the framework of Badari culture, Nagada culture and others, which formed the basis of Egyptian Ancient civilization.

The problem of the origin of C. in Sub-Saharan Africa remains largely unexplored. In some cases it spread simultaneously with the beginning of iron production, in the course of cultural influences and migrations. Terracotta statuettes associated with the cultures of the 2nd half of the 1st millennium B.C. are known worldwide. The terracotta figurines associated with the cultures of the 2nd half of the 1st millennium B.C. and later on the territory of modern Nigeria (Nok, Ife, etc.). In Ife and neighboring cultures we know sidewalks made of millions of specially sharpened crocks.

In America, the most ancient centers of pottery manufacture were in eastern Amazonia (disputed dates 6.6). B.C., on the coast of modern Ecuador and on the north of modern Colombia (the end of the 4th thou. Mississippi and on the Atlantic coast of Georgia (end of the 4th-3rd thousand years). In the centers of ancient civilizations C. spreads later – in the end of the 3rd millennium, in the Mesoamerican Region, in the Latin al. Thous. in Mesoamerica, and in the 1st half. – 1 half. B.C. in the Center. Andes. Before the arrival of Europeans the potter’s wheel was not widespread. In the Recuay culture in the north of modern Peru (1st half of the 1st millennium A.D.) it was used only for the production of ceremonial cult utensils, and quickly fell out of use. In the tropical and temperate zones in the early ceramics prevail spherical vessels without pronounced throat tekomate type, reproducing the shape of pumpkin-gourd. The masterpieces of Native American traditions include terracotta figurines of the Maya, figured vessels and masks of the Aztecs and painted vessels of various shapes (including “face” ones) of the Incas.

In other Oriental civilizations for the first time ceremonial utensils were covered with colored glaze, there were sophisticated forms of earthenware (Egypt, 2nd millennium B.C.), developed K., specially designed for ritual purposes (e.g., canopa), in the decoration of buildings were widely used colorful terracotta mosaic, reliefs and paintings of glazed bricks (e.g., Ishtar Gate in Babylon, 6th century B.C.).

In South Asia, the first rough K. with wicker imprints is presented in Neolithic period IB (7th-6th millennia B.C.) of Mehrgarh settlement; obviously, it was preceded by wicker baskets coated with bitumen; in IIC period K. made on potter’s wheel appears (horse bowls, spherical vases), from dark-yellow to reddish color with black painting. Vessels of the 3rd millennium (Mehrgah). 3rd millennium (Mehrgarh, Kot-Diji, Amri IIB, etc.) is connected with the formation of the Harappan civilization. Another independent center of the late Mesolithic (“Proto-Neolithic”; 7th-6th Thousandth ) was found on the Vindhya Plateau (Chopani Mando, Mahagara etc.) and in the Middle Ganges valley (Sokhgaura, Chirand etc.). There are 4 groups of this K.: corded, rough, red-skinned, black-skinned. Probably, there was a special center of cording K. in the South-East Asia: Cave of the Dukhov (6th th thou.) and Non Non Nok Tha (5th thou.) on the territory of Thailand, Laang Spean (5th thou.) – Cambodia, Padah Line (5th thou.) – Burma.

The formation of a number of early agricultural cultures in the south of Europe – up to the Middle Dnieper area, Podunavia and Western Mediterranean – with typical forms of K. (clay plastics, painted dishes) is connected with the Eastern Mediterranean. The local traditions include, for example, the spread of vessels with a rough surface due to an additional coating with liquid clay – the so-called barbatin (see Körösch). The most ancient cultures with K. in Western Europe include Campigny and others.

In the steppe and forest-steppe zones of Eurasia the process of “neolithization”, which began in the 6th-5th millennium B.C., was marked by the appearance of pottery. From the 5th-4th millennium B.C. K. gradually spread in the forest zone, in cultures that did not have a productive economy. The earliest vessels were open, unprofiled, pointed and round-bottom, with ornaments made of incised lines, pits and stamps. According to formed characteristic features of ornaments and shapes of C. are distinguished many cultural communities of Europe and Northern Asia of Neolithic period and later epochs (patching and comb ceramics cultural-historical community, comb patching ceramics culture, comb geometry culture, line-and-belt ceramics culture, cord ceramics cultural-historical community, bell-shaped cups culture and others).

The richest painted K. (vessels, statuettes, reliefs) are typical for Aegean art. In the Eastern Mediterranean, under the influence of the cultures of Ancient Greece, Etruscans and others, special types of vessels (amphora, ariball, hydria, kiaf, kylik, lekif, scythos, etc.; see Art Vessels), including those decorated with black and red varnished paintings on mythological and everyday themes (see Vases) were formed and widely spread. A special technological group is represented by vessels made by means of stamping in special forms (Megar bowls, etc.). Terracotta statuettes (in Tanagra, etc.) were very well known for their perfect plastics; artistic expression was inherent in terracotta stucco and painted architectural details (cornices, acroteria, etc.). The Etruscan Q. was characterized by funerary urns-canopies with sculptural representations of the dead, buccero vessels, etc. In Ancient Rome, which synthesized pottery traditions of the Mediterranean, the terra sigillata was spread. It was made of flat or relief surface of bright orange color with hard facing, colourful poured K., decorated with K. reliefs, brick making was developed and used for construction of complex, including vaulted building constructions. The tradition of Roman. The Byzantine Pottery followed the traditions of the Roman K. In construction, they widely used burnt bricks- plintha, ceramic poured architectural details. Ceramic icons also appeared in Byzantine art. Many types of Roman and Byzantine Art. Byzantine art had an influence on cultures of several regions of Europe (including Ancient Rus) and Asia.

In medieval Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and the Arab countries architic art developed. K.: patterned brickwork, carved terracotta, majolica polychrome tile and mosaic cladding of buildings. The best examples of these types of architectural decorations include the decor of buildings in Samarqand and Bukhara in the 14th-15th cc. Ceramic utensils were also created there. Particularly notable were the vessels with painted lustre – faience from Iranian Rey (13th c.), Spanish-Mauritanian majolica of the 13th-15th cc. (the famous “Alhambra” vases of the 14th c. and Valencia factory products of the 15th c.), also tiles from Spain and Portugal (azulejos, azulejos). The temple “Thousand Buddhas” of Mahabuddha (14th c.) in Patan (Nepal) is unique: its facades are faced with terracotta with carved images of the Buddha, plant ornaments and other images.

In China from the 4th-5th centuries A.D. earthenware was produced, and in the 6th-7th centuries as a result of the long improvement of technology porcelain appeared. Kit. Chinas (dishes, vases, sculptures, monumental facings, architectural details, glazed tiles) owing to their technical and artistic perfection, the unprecedented richness of shapes and decor had a great influence on the world ceramics. Under the influence of China and Korea, K. developed in Japan: in the 4-6th centuries, funerary hollow clay sculpture (“haniva”) was spread, from the 13th century, vases, bowls with high quality glazed coverings appeared, from the 2nd half of the 14th century, tea tile sculpture developed. In the second half of the 14th century, with the development of the tea ceremony, vessels made of porous heavy pottery appeared. Porcelain products were made in the 16th century. In China and Korea, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) the so-called celadon ware was spread, which was covered by the semitransparent glaze of soft light green shades.

In Western Europe ceramics began to develop intensively since the Renaissance. Under the certain influence of Spanish-Moorish ceramics, the art of ceramics was developed in Italy in the end of 14th-17th centuries. Under some influence of Spanish & Mauritanian C. Italy in the late 14th-17th centuries the art of majolica was developed in which subject painting became the first in Europe after antiquity to become the main type of decoration, and ceramic sculpture became monumental (in Faenza, Deruta, Gubbio, Urbino; sculpture of the della Robbia family). The Italian majolica had a big impact on German masters of the 15th century (in Nuremberg and other towns), where, however, from the 14th century they began to make vessels of the stone mass, glazed tiles, as well as on French majolica of the 16-18th centuries (in Nimes, Lyons, Nevers) that developed in parallel with faience wares production. The finest French earthenware vessels from St. Porcher and the so called “country clays” – decorative dishes covered with colored water, made in the workshop of B. Palissy, were widely known. Palissy. In Holland, in the late. 16-18 centuries. created painted faience tiles (in Rotterdam, Gouda), the famous dishes – Delft faience, which experienced the influence of the Far Eastern ceramics.

Since the 16th century the “blackening” (achieved by limitation of oxygen access at the last stage of firing) and glaze spread in Russia. Since the 15th century in the architectural decoration the ceramics plates and tiles – terracotta and glazed (green, yellow, brown – “muravlenye”, later – polychrome – “tseninnye”) were used. In the 17th century, Belarusian masters P.I. Zaborsky, S.I. Polubes, etc. were known to have worked in Moscow. The production of tile was also begun in Yaroslavl and other cities. Since the 18th century. Relief tiles were replaced by smooth with thematic painting. In the 18th c. majolica ware with painting on raw enamel (factory of A.K. Grebenshchikov in Moscow, founded in 1724).

The turning-point in the history of European. The turning point in the history of European. porcelain took place after the invention of porcelain I. F. Boettgerom (with the assistance of E. Chirnhaus) in Germany. In 18-19 centuries. began to function large porcelain factories in Meissen (see Meissen porcelain), manufactories in Vienna, Sevres (see Sevres Porcelain), etc.. In the 18 th century. porcelain as an artistic material almost everywhere finds a leading role among other forms of C. It is with the greatest completeness aesthetic principles of rococo and classicism. Along with painted gilded small plastic created sculpture from unglazed. white porcelain – biscuit. A special place belonged to the English manufactories of the 18th c., which introduced the production of faience (J. Wedgwood’s factory).

In Russia porcelain production was established in the late 1740s by D. I. Vinogradov, the first Russian “porcelain manufactory” (1765 Imperial Porcelain Factory; now Lomonosov Porcelain Factory. In the 1740s D. I. Vinogradov at the first in Russia “porcelain manufactory” (since 1765 the Imperial Porcelain Factory; nowadays the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory); in 1766 in Verbilki near Moscow was founded a private factory of F. J. Gardner (nowadays Dmitrovskiy porcelain factory). Porcelain dishes, genre figurines of the 18th – 1st half of the 19th centuries. Genre statuettes of the 18th – 1st half of the 19th centuries. are notable for their high artistic quality, bright national coloring. In 1830-40-ies the main area of porcelain-faience production was the village. Gzhel (see Gzhel ceramics), in the late. 19 – early 20 centuries, the largest were porcelain-faience factories of M. S. Kuznetsova (see Dulevo porcelain factory). Along with the factory production was preserved pottery and folk. arts. crafts (Dymkovo toy, Skopina ceramics, etc.).From the second half of the 19th century. However the high technological level of their production did not correspond to their artistic quality. Some revival of ceramicists’ quests was promoted by the Art Nouveau style that developed on the turn of the 19th-20th centuries: at the porcelain factory in Copenhagen (Denmark) articles were created, marked by the flowing fusion of forms, the refinement of pale underglaze paintings; in Russia the desire to play up the picturesque fluidity of material was typical for the Abramtsevo art circle’s ceramic workshop (decorative majolica by M.A. Vrubel and others). The national-romantic tendency was manifested in the interest to folk, hand-made pottery. White and colored glazed bricks, majolica panels, and tile friezes were widely used in decoration of buildings.

In the first decades of the 20th century, with spread of functionalism, the search for simple, sometimes absolutely “cleaned” from decor (developments of Bauhaus) expedient forms calculated for industrial production began in art. Functional things made of high-temperature stone mass, simple in form, without rich ornamentation, inspired by strict, devoid of ornaments Japanese folk. Ceramics – vessels (vases, jugs), also dishes, panels with revealing texture or glazed with color glazes of high fire (red-blood, blue), with embossing or relief large ornaments with graphic stylized motives (French ceramists E. Lachenal, P. Boniface, E. Lenoble, H. Siemain, A. Mate, R. Butot, etc.).

From the 1950s in the industrial arts. K. develops a tendency to rational simplicity, the identification of the functional purpose of the object, the structural and texture qualities of the material. Decorative C. is characterized by a variety of techniques (new types of enamels, glazes), stylistic trends (from avant-garde searches to a direct appeal to the national artistic tradition), unexpected contrasting comparisons with other materials (including metal); from the 1960s, the trend is away from strict functionality and an attempt to get closer to easel forms. Major artists and architects (P. Picasso, F. Leger, A. Fougeron, A. Gaudi, etc.) took part in painting decorative dishes and vessels as well as in creation of monumental panels, which decorated public buildings. The diversity of types of cladding is growing in C. The diversity of kinds of facing tiles (flat with a multi-colored pattern or relief, covered with glaze, various shapes and sizes) is growing in C. The streets are covered with clinker and colored plates.