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History of porcelain

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Engraving of Roughing Out and Throwing of Porcelain Paste Enlarge

Engraving of Roughing Out and Throwing of
Porcelain Paste,
Elementary Treaty on Chemistry, 1884
(Public domain)

History of porcelain

It seems that porcelain was invented in China during the Tang Dynasty between the 7th and the 10th Centuries. However, although objects of great quality were then created, it was only in the 14th century that appeared the first "China blues", which led to this Asian country's renown in the field.

In the 15th century, Italians travelling in China brought back porcelain objects to Europe which truly fascinated Westerners, who imported more and more as they amassed imposing collections. Soon, a frenzy came over Europe, where numerous enthusiasts were prepared to do anything to discover the secret of making porcelain.

The most intense research on this fine material took place in Germany in the 18th century at the court of Dresden. Augustus II, firmly determined to elucidate the mystery of the composition of this delicate white paste, hired alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger and even went so far as to imprison him to hasten his research. The scientist soon succeeded and invented Meissen porcelain, at the origin of the first true porcelain works on the continent.

Despite all the precautions of the employees, the production secrets of the Meissen factory leaked out, and porcelain works opened nearly everywhere throughout Europe. Gradually, France and England developed high-quality porcelains and acquired a certain fame. We notably owe to Great Britain "bone china", in which porcelain is mixed with powdered bone.

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