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Native American bowl
MFA# 1994.46


"Longfellow" pitcher
MFA# 2000.697

A coarse, opaque, baked pottery. Earthenware is probably the earliest kind of ceramics and was made in Turkey as early as 8000 BCE. It is typically made from secondary clays and fired at relatively low temperatures of 800-1200 C. Unglazed earthenware is porous. Soft or semi-hard glazes were used on earthenware starting about 3000 BCE by the Egyptians. Examples of tin-glazed earthenware are Faience, Delftware, and Majolica. Earthenware is used to make brick, tiles, and Terracotta objects.

Synonyms and Related Terms

faience; faïence (Fr.); faiança (Port.); delft; majolica; terracotta

Resources and Citations

  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Ceramics"
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998