Do You Know the History of Ceramics Pottery?

silhouette of black catThe making of ceramics started in the distant past.  When we research the history of ceramics pottery, we learn that the use of clay to make items, artistic or practical, became an industry thousands of years ago.  When people discovered that clay could be mixed with water and then fired in an oven, the industry of making objects from clayearn was born.

What is the oldest ceramic artifact?

The oldest ceramic artifact that we know of dates as early as 28,000 BCE (Before Common Era.)  The piece was made during the late Paleolithic period and was a statuette of a woman.  This piece was found near Brno, in the Czech Republic, fromlarge bonfire a small prehistoric settlement.

First examples of pottery

Several thousand years later came the first examples of pottery.  In China, from the Xianrendong Cave, archaeologists found fragments of pots dating from 18,000 to 17,000 BCE.  It is believed that the making and use of pottery spread from China to Japan and the Russian Far East.

raku beach firingDuring the Neolithic period, use of ceramics increased dramatically.  Clay-based containers became popular as containers for all manner of things.  Early pottery was either dried in the sun or fired at low temperatures in rudimentary kilns dug in the ground.

When the wheel was invented, (around 3,000 BC) it became possible to form pieces that had radial symmetry.  Artists also began decorating their pieces.

The start and development of porcelain

Through the 16th century, earthenware was the main class of clay product made in Europe and the Middle East.  Then the Chinese introduced high temperature kilns, and around 600 CE (Common Era), they developed porcelain from kaolin clay.

During the Industrial Revolution of the 16th century, blast furnaces were capable of reaching up to 1,500 degrees Celsius.  With these furnaces came the ability to melt metals and glass on an industrial scale.

Due to these high temperature furnaces,  the manufacture of coke, cement, chemicals, and ceramics became possible. Since those early days, traditional ceramics and glass have been developed in new ways, taking advantage of such properties as their low thermal and electrical conductivity, high chemical resistance, and high melting point.

By 1850, with the introduction of the first porcelain electrical insulators, an era of potter's hands, pot at wheeltechnical ceramics started.

After World War II, ceramics and glass have contributed to the growth of technical and design fields, such as electrons, medical, energy, automotive, and aerospace.

You are invited to look at a selection of ceramic and glass items that represent a high point in the development of porcelain.  Here is work by good artists for your pleasure.  These pieces all come from the fine studios of The Bradford Exchange Online.

These are beautiful and charming items that make very nice gifts.  Oh, and if anyone wants to get me a Christmas gift, send me one of these.  As I hand-picked all of them, that means I like them. (I jokes– you don’t have to get me a present.) Click on the item or the blue-highlighted item name to be taken to Bradford Exchange to make your purchase.Purr-fectly Precious Basket Collection

Purr-fectly Precious Basket Collection


Price:  $49.95

Express Shipping Available






Kitchen Capers Cat Art Decorative Wall Clock Gift Idea


Kitchen Capers Cat Art Wall Clock

by Jurgen Scholz

Price:  $99.99 + $14.99 shipping or

3 installments of $33.33

Express Shipping Available









Sophisticats Crystal Cat Figurine CollectionSophisticats Crystal Cat Figurine Collection

Price:  49.95 + $9.99 shipping

Available in two payments of $24.98

Express Shipping Available








Lena Liu Serene Purr-fection Porcelain Cat Figurine

Serene Perfection, by Lena Liu

Porcelain cat figurine

$79.98 + $13.00 shipping or

2 installments of $39.99

Express Shipping Available









 Purrfect Holiday Tabletop Christmas Tree

by Jurgen ScholzCat Lover's Illuminated Tabletop Christmas Tree: Purr-fect Holiday

27 kitten angels

60 LED lights and glowing star on top

$149.99 + $19.99 shipping or

4 installments of $37.50

Express Shipping Available





Purr-fectly Playful Kitten Lamp



Purrfectly Playful Kitten Lamp

Price:  $135.00 plus shipping of $18.99 or

4 installments of $33.75

NOTE:  This is a new item which will start shipping

as of February 26, 2019.  Be one of the first to have this charming lamp






Blake Jensen I Love You To The Moon And Back Cat Figurine

I Love You to the Moon and Back

by Blake Jenson

Cat figurine

Price:  $39.99 + 8.99 shipping







Purr-ecious Blessing Of Two Lovers Porcelain Figurine
Purr-ecious Blessing Blue Willow-Inspired

Original Porcelain

Price:  $49.98 + 9.00 shipping or

2 installments of $24.95

Express Shipping Available





Cats Leave Paw-Prints on our Hearts

by Kayomi Harai                         Cats Leave Paw Prints On Our Hearts Music Box With Charm

Music Box, mahogany finish

Price:  49.99 + 9.99 shipping

Available in 2 installments of $25.00

Express Shipping Available





Happy Tails Cuckoo Clock With Kitten Art By Jurgen Scholz

 Happy Tails Kitten Art Wall Clock

by Jurgen Scholz

$149.95 + $19.99 shipping or

4 installments of $37.49

Express Shipping Available








There’s the assortment.  I hope you like them.  To go to Bradford Exchange, just click on the image or on the blue link. Let me know what you think of these…I’d love feedback!

12 Responses to Do You Know the History of Ceramics Pottery?

  1. Shane Black says:

    Hi Fran, 

    Thanks so much for your very informative blog! I had never really thought of the history of pottery before so it was great to read the information you presented. Who would have thought that pottery had such a long history!

    I like the examples you provided as well (I’m a cat person so great to see!)



    • Fran Kelso says:

      Shane, I am glad enjoyed the article.  And, so glad to find another cat person.  There seem to be a lot of us.  I hope you will come back again and learn some new things about cats, and other things as well.  

      It’s a thing to think about — that soil in the form of clay could become something so useful.  We have a lot of clay in our soil.  I wonder if anyone here has tried to make pottery from it…will have to ask around.

  2. Renton says:

    Great Post! I think it is wonderful to take the time to look back at history. It is crazy to think that if people did not start experimenting with making clay structures that we would not even be communicating this way right now. Modern electronics owes it start to those pots everybody get Into trouble for breaking when they were kids ( me included).

    I think the art itself is quite wonderful. Just to think that this cute little pot with a cat painted on it is the same stuff you might walk on unwittingly is incredible. I have always had an interest in pottery and glass blowing ( the process and the end result). I really think it is a great passion to follow because creating thing of beauty is a lot harder than destroying them.

    • Fran Kelso says:

      Good point about modern electronics.  And, I love your comment about the pot might be made of stuff you walk on…how wonderful is our earth!  Look at all the good stuff she gives us.  

      Very true, also, that it is easier to destroy beauty than to create it.  You said a lot in your short comment!  Thank you…and I do hope you return to visit all my kitties again.

  3. Norman says:

    What a lovely site and post! I hadn’t realized just how far back ceramics and pottery go! It’s a precious art form, but it was also news to me the myriad practical uses they have served since WW2. Do you know of any good resources where I can learn more abut this?

    The gift items are adorable! My favorites are the Kitchen Capers wall clock and the Christmas tree. The “Love you to the moon” piece is also outstanding. I’ve bookmarked your site and will revert back it as I plan my holiday shopping.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Fran Kelso says:

      Norman, I am so glad you visited.  Yes, I do love ceramics…had the chance to learn a bit when I lived in the village of Ouzinkie.  We had a sweet little pottery studio.  To learn more, put “History of Ceramics” in your Google search, and you will find more selections than you have time to read.  It is a good resource.  Other than that, the library would have books on ceramics and pottery, and if you have a local pottery studio, they may also have references.

      I really like the items in the ceramics article as well.  I’d love to have the clock, and would send the Christmas tree to my kids, who entertain a lot.  I hope you will be back, Norman.  Be sure to look at some of my other gift items, too.  Most of them you will find under the “Kitty Gift Ideas” at the top of the page.

  4. Rika says:

    Hi Fran,

    I enjoyed reading your history of ceramics.  There is nothing better for me than to learn something new every day.  I absolutely love the wall clocks and the playful kitten lamp.  I have a very cute spoiled cat.  She’s got a habit of waking me very early in the mornings for food and I am not allowed to get back in bed.  I have to watch her eat.  

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and very interesting products with us!

    • Fran Kelso says:

      Glad you enjoyed the article.  There are cute things shown there, for sure.

      Yep, I know about cats who wake you up because they are ready to eat.  Different cats use different techniques to get you out of bed, but when they find one that works, they can run it into the ground, as long as you get up.  You have to watch her eat?  How funny!  Maybe she feels safer with you watching…like you will keep any other cats from sneaking in the house and stealing her food.  Cats are quite the characters, and it is sometimes hard to figure out cat reasoning.  Just enjoy that spoiled baby!

  5. Joo says:

    You have taken me on such an educational journey of the history of ceramics pottery. And I love cats too, so those figurines really touch my heart. My favourite is the Serene Perfection, the sleek and tall figure of the cat admiring the butterfly on the tip of its tail, I love the feeling of calm it gives me. I’m going to pester the hubby to get it as my christmas gift!

    • Fran Kelso says:

      Well, bless your pestering heart!  I hope he does so.  The one I covet is that new lamp that won’t be released until February.  I may have to order one of those.  They are all lovely pieces, though, and I’m pleased to select my favorites to show to all of you.

  6. Kent says:

    It’s amazing to learn about the history of ceramics pottery and how it contributed to our modern technology. It can be made into such a fragile and delicate pieces of art, I especially love the cat crystal figurine, it looks so beautiful I cannot believe it only cost less than $50. I also like the table top Christmas tree, it’s the perfect thing to buy right now with the holiday season around the corner. Thanks for this informative post you have written!

    • Fran Kelso says:

      You are so welcome, Kent!  I am glad you liked the post.  It is amazing, isn’t it, that artists can make such fragile objects for us to enjoy — so beautiful and creative.  I, too, like that Christmas tree.  Would love to have one to put in the center of my table.  

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