Test Your Knowledge of Earthenware Pottery

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the firing temperature range for earthenware?

What is the water absorption rate of fired earthenware?

What is the general body formulation for contemporary earthenware?

What is the advantage of unfired earthenware bodies over whiteware bodies?

What is the disadvantage of earthenware compared to bone china, porcelain or stoneware?

What is the historical significance of Hispano-Moresque ware?

What is the difference between glazed and unglazed earthenware?

What is the firing temperature range for most clays used to produce earthenware?

What are some typical uses of darker-coloured terracotta earthenware?


Earthenware Pottery: Characteristics, Production, and Examples

  • Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that has normally been fired below 1,200 °C (2,190 °F).
  • Basic earthenware, often called terracotta, absorbs liquids such as water.
  • Earthenware can be made impervious to liquids by coating it with a ceramic glaze, and is used for the great majority of modern domestic earthenware.
  • Pit fired earthenware dates back to as early as 29,000–25,000 BC, and for millennia, only earthenware pottery was made, with stoneware gradually developing some 5,000 years ago.
  • Unfired earthenware bodies exhibit higher plasticity than most whiteware bodies and hence are easier to shape by RAM press, roller-head or potter's wheel than bone china or porcelain.
  • Fired earthenware, with a water absorption of 5-8%, must be glazed to be watertight.
  • Earthenware has lower mechanical strength than bone china, porcelain or stoneware, and consequently articles are commonly made in thicker cross-section, although they are still more easily chipped.
  • Darker-coloured terracotta earthenware, typically orange or red due to a comparatively high content of iron oxides, are widely used for flower pots, tiles and some decorative and oven ware.
  • A general body formulation for contemporary earthenware is 25% kaolin, 25% ball clay, 35% quartz and 15% feldspar.
  • Earthenware can be produced at firing temperatures as low as 600 °C (1,112 °F) and many clays will not fire successfully above about 1,000 °C (1,830 °F).
  • All Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman pottery is earthenware, as is the Hispano-Moresque ware of the late Middle Ages, which developed into tin-glazed pottery or faience traditions in several parts of Europe.
  • In the 18th century, especially in English Staffordshire pottery, technical improvements enabled very fine wares such as Wedgwood's creamware, that competed with porcelain with considerable success.


How much do you know about earthenware pottery? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the characteristics, production, and examples of earthenware. From its ancient origins to modern-day techniques, this quiz covers everything you need to know about earthenware. Learn about the materials used, firing temperatures, and glazing techniques. Challenge yourself and see how much you truly know about this versatile and beautiful type of pottery.

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