The term 'Earthenware' generally means a ceramic material which has a variety of uses ranging from pottery, tableware to decorative objects. The compositions vary to a great extent among countries and also among individual makers. The general composition consists of 25% ball clay, 28% kaolin, 32% quartz and 15% feldspar. Earthenware is among the oldest materials to be used in pottery. Red clay is the most commonly available and most commonly used. But white and buff colored clay earthenware is also becoming popular these days. Earthenware is made by heating the clay at a range of 1000 and 1150 degrees Celsius (1800 and 2100 degrees Fahrenheit) and glost fired from 950 to 1050 °C (1750 to 1925 °F). However it can also be low fired and high glosted. This is especially done by studio potters at workshops where biscuit temperatures are

900 to 1050 °C (1650 to 1920 °F) with glost temperatures in the range of 1040 to 1150 °C (1900 to 2100 °F). The raw materials and the desired characteristics of the finished ware influence the range of temperatures. The raw materials also decide the color of the body. It can be anything between white to red. The higher temperatures can cause the earthenware to bloat. Due to firing the body becomes porous and opaque. Earthenware can also be described as pottery that has not been fired to the point where it gets vitrified and is more porous and coarser than stoneware and porcelain. In order to make it less porous the body can be covered completely or decorated with a liquid clay mixture (called 'slip') or it can be glazed.

Classification of pottery:

The term “Pottery” is generally used to mean all the products that the potter produces by using his art. Pottery can be largely divided into 3 categories:

  • Earthenware-This is a form of pottery fired at relatively low temperatures to avoid the clay from getting vitrified or glassy.
  • Stoneware- This was made in China as early as 1400 BC (Shang dynasty) and in Japan during the 13th century (Kamakura period).
  • Porcelain- This was made in China during the T'ang dynasty (AD 618–907) Stoneware is hard and translucent, sometimes even opaque. The color of the body can be red, brown, gray, white or black.
    Sometimes, earthenware may be used as a general term to denote all kinds of pottery.
Origin of Pottery:

It is difficult to ascertain the discovery of the potter's wheel. Originally it was used in Egypt, Persia, and Babylonia. Explorations in the tombs of Egypt show that pottery making was very much present in the 3000 BC. These objects tell us a lot about the lives of those ancient people. Bottles, jars and jugs for carrying and storing water represent their artistic sense. Earthenware pottery is one of the oldest and widespread of the arts created of clay and made hard with heat. Generally useful objects were made, like jars for holding liquids or plates and bowls where food could be kept.

Types of Earthenware:

Earthenware can be as thin as bone china and also like porcelain. Due to practical and decorative reasons, earthenware is usually glazed to get rid of its porosity. This is also known as Tin-enameled Earthenware. It has an opaque glaze and is white, unless color is added to it. It is variously called faience, majolica, and delftware. Thus earthenware can be of various types:

  • Creamware
  • Delftware - This is tin-glazed earthenware of Netherlands and England.
  • Faience - This is tin-glazed earthenware of France, Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia.
  • Majolica – This is tin-glazed earthenware of Italy. It was introduced into Italy from Spain from the island of Majorca, or Maiolica, from where it derived the name.
  • Raku
  • Terra cotta

Tin oxide is added to earthenware to make it opaque. Glazed earthenware is differently called faience, majolica and delftware. The tin glaze was actually devised to conceal flaws of color in the body. Tin-glazed ware is colored with high-temperature colors.

Indian Pottery

It was during the period of Harappa civilization, craft of pottery was originated.While pottery and earthenware are distinctly utilitarian and often decorative, porcelain and studio pottery belong to the realm of art. Except for a few examples of Indian ceramics, which have been produced from a single mould, most of it is completely hand-modeled, a tradition carried over to the 20th century.

There is evidence of pottery making, both handmade and wheel-thrown, from all over India. At Harappa and Mohenjodaro, pottery has been excavated showing that potter's place was quite an important one in society. The craft was well advanced. Rectangular kilns for firing the product were in use. Seals and grain and water containers were made that were put to use effectively.

The place of the potter in the craft tradition of India is unique. India has more than a million potters. They are exquisite masters - men and women alike. Despite the hi-tech that has invaded the Indian scenario, it is doubtful if it will ever destroy the potter's inherent creativity. Hopefully, new generations will perceive the worth of pottery.

Nishapur Pottery:

They refer to the Islamic ceramics which are produced at Nishapur (modern Neyshabur, Iran). They were generally of a bold style and portrayed a close linkage with Sassanian and Central Asian work. This style is originally of Transoxania, a district of Iran. During the 9th century AD this art bore certain unique characteristics such as black and ochre birds with touches of white and green.

Know about the following earthenware products and the their leading Manufacturers, Exporters and Suppliers :

Following are the potential manufacturers, suppliers and exporters of Crafts Items: