Ceramics made from a mixture of china clay
(kaolin) and china stone (petuntse).
There are three types of porcelain:
Porcelaneous ware was first made in China,
hence its common name china. Chinese porcelain is less vitrified (and
therefore softer) than its modern European counterpart, which was developed in
Germany in the early 18th century.
Porcelain is a vitrified pottery with a white, fine-grained body that is usually translucent, as distinguished from earthenware, which is porous, opaque, and coarser.
The distinction between porcelain and stoneware, the other class of vitrified pottery material, is less clear.
In China, porcelain is defined as pottery that is resonant when struck; in the West, it is a material that is translucent when held to the light. Neither definition is totally satisfactory; some heavily potted porcelains are opaque, while some thinly potted stonewares are somewhat translucent. The word porcelain is derived from porcellana, used by Marco Polo to describe the pottery he saw in China.
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