History of Pottery and Porcelain

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STORY OF POTTERY AND PORCELAIN To the 1st century BC To pot or not to pot The potter's wheel Greek vases Glazed ceramics African terracotta figures 1st - 13th century AD 13th - 17th century 16th - 18th century To be completed Archaeological evidence, together with the example of primitive tribes in recent times, suggests that the earliest containers used by neolithic man range from hollowed out pieces of stone or wood to more elaborate artefacts such as bags of animal skin and, above all, baskets. Basketry is one of the earliest crafts to be developed. Almost every region of the world has suitable materials, in grasses, reeds or willows, and the resulting object is both cheap and light. But baskets are not good for containing liquids. For that purpose early technology soon finds another material which is cheap, widely available and (by comparison with stone) relatively light. This material is clay. Not all societies have developed the useful craft of pottery. Nomads tend not to be potters. The technical demands of pottery do not fit well with life on the move, and pots are too fragile for a nomadic existence. Equally, in areas where nature provides admirable pots in the form of gourds, the potter's trade seems an unnecessary labour. But most communities, tending their crops in the Neolithic Revolution, soon discover the technique and use of pottery. With one remarkable exception, at Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic (where models of animals and a Venus figurine have been dated to about 25,000 years ago), the earliest examples come from the Middle East, the region where agriculture first develops. Pottery fragments from about 6500 BC have been found at Catal Huyuk in Turkey. The earliest wares at Catal Huyuk are made by one of the standard methods of primitive

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