Lead glaze

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Lead-glazed porcelain
MFA# 20.790


Marblelized stoneware
MFA# 52.1546

A simple, low firing glaze used on soft paste ceramics. Lead glazes may be sprinkled or thinly painted on a clay body. Lead glazes are used on clay that can be fired below its volatilization temperature of about 1150C. Lead glazes produce a lustrous, opaque surface, but they are no longer in common use because of the potential for lead poisoning. Examples of lead salts used as glazes are: lead antimonate (Naples yellow), basic lead carbonate, Lead chromate, Lead oxide, Lead silicate, and Lead sulfate.

Lead-glazed earthenware
MFA# 60.8

Synonyms and Related Terms

glaure au plomb (Fr.); loodglazuur (Ned.); vidrado de chumbo (Port.)


  • Toxic by inhalation or ingestion.
  • Skin contact may cause irritation or ulcers.
  • Carcinogen, teratogen, suspected mutagen.

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 445
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Henry Hodges, Artifacts: An Introduction to Early Materials and Technology, Ronald P. Frye, Kingston, Canada, 1988
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997

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