Pottery consists of plates, bowls, cooking utensils, cups, and storage bowls made of clay. People use clay in pottery in the kitchen for various reasons. Clay is very cheap and can be found all over the world, and almost anyone can make a simple bowl of it. They are also water-resistant when properly made, and are relatively easy to clean.
Clay can also be made to look very elegant and beautiful with enough skill and patience, and has been popular enough to be used for countless centuries. Pottery is an easy skill to learn, and while it’s in the oven, you can always have a little blackjack fun.
Sometime between 6000 and 4000 BC, the first ceramic wheel was invented in Mesopotamia. This revolutionized the way the ancients could create clay items. Potterers were no longer constrained by the long process of hand-casting clay – they were then able to have more freedom to experiment with new forms and aesthetics.
While pottery has always had intrinsic artistic qualities, when the potter’s wheel arrived, it changed the process even more. Instead of serving utilitarian purposes, it now serves technical purposes. While the first types of items found by archaeologists were generally unadorned, unglazed, handcrafted clay vessels, by 6000 BC, places such as the Middle East, China, and Europe had developed a wide range of design techniques.
From intricate painted designs that tell the history of the pharaoh’s reign to highly polished bowls and bowls to illustrate animal shapes, potters have acquired a remarkable skill and ability never before seen, thanks to the invention of the potter’s wheel.
If you want to know more about this unique ancient practice and how it evolved into the industry as it is today, we have developed this guide for you. Let’s get started – here’s the ultimate guide to pottery history!
Humans began making pottery tools in East Africa, and in both China and Japan as early as 14,000 B.C., which was long before agriculture and crop cultivation were invented. Archaeologists believe that early humans have known how to make pottery for thousands of years, but it wasn’t something that was done on a large scale.
Pottery has been around since ancient people roamed the earth. As one of mankind’s oldest inventions, the practice of pottery has developed along with civilization. The oldest ceramic pieces date back to 29,000 BC. One of the most popular pieces from this time period is the Venus Dolny Vestonis, discovered in the Czech Republic, a porcelain figurine in the shape of a nude female Venus.
Pottery is our oldest handicraft. In prehistoric times, water was likely carried in woven baskets lined with river mud. After pouring the water from the container, the clay layer dried out. The loss of moisture caused the shape to shrink and separate from the sides of the basket. When the clay, now vase-shaped, was removed and dried in the sun on the hot sand, I kept the basket pattern. The first men and women then discovered that they could fortify pottery cast in hot ashes and make sturdy containers for transporting and storing food. Among these pots, they were shaped by hand and decorated with primitive tools.
Because clay is almost everywhere, early humans had easy access to this responsive substance, which allowed them to shape and shape the world they observed around them. With limited access to tools, clay also allows these people to mold and shape by hand, creating human figurines, bowls, utensils, and more.
Once humans developed fire, they discovered that heating these clay objects formed around them into a different substance was more permanent and more beneficial to them – mainly things like bowls, plates, and utensils for storing and preparing food.
As civilization progressed further, pottery always progressed side by side, even helping people survive and providing them with a higher standard of living.
Early pottery was made simply by pushing a hole into a ball of clay of various sizes, or by making a longer “snake” out of the clay and then rolling it into a jagged bowl shape. Some believe that pottery first started when people started making baskets and then started covering them with clay to make them waterproof. In Japan, for example, many ancient utensils were buried in the ground for storage, as ground temperatures generally did not match those of the surrounding air. One of the reasons for the increased popularity of pottery was its ability to preserve fish. The fish was fermented for some time before being made into a fish sauce, after which it is buried in these underground pots. Other food items, such as grain, were also stored in pottery, where they remained edible even during the longer winter months.
Evidence showed that by 9000 BC, the people living in present-day Niger in West Africa were making pottery. They were not familiar with other cultures, such as the Chinese, who were also making their own pottery during the same time, which means that pottery was a collective invention that many cultures were able to discover on their own. It is thought that Africans may have started pottery as a way to safely store their grains, although it is also speculated that they may also have stored fish in pottery to make fish sauce.
It is likely that people from both North and South America were making pottery for a similar reason, although a few thousand years have passed. People who regularly consume fish in present-day Brazil began producing pottery around 5500 BC.
Pottery in Asia and Europe
Pottery spread from East Asia to the West, reaching Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as North Africa around 6000 BC. This led to clay being widely used in Europe since the beginning of the Bronze Age.
Classification by type
Although Chinese pottery can be classified relatively accurately using the eras in which it was produced, certain technological and artistic advances that spanned across dynasties sometimes make it useful to group such pottery according to type. There is a wide variety of ceramics created for a wide variety of uses, from decoration, to storage facilities, to tea tools, and even for burial purposes, but there are a few specific ones that are so unusual that they must be mentioned.
The first is Sancai pottery, a term derived from the literal Chinese term “three colours” – which refers to the nature of the pottery itself. Although sancai pottery does not necessarily have to have three colors (sometimes it has more than that), subtlety in the effect of tricolor glazes on pottery has persisted through the ages. The use of such glazing appears to be particularly common with decorative ceramic figurines, such as miniature terracotta horses or other similar animals.