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Ceramics: a material that is resistant to heat and the passage of the centuries

Ceramic is the first material used by man. Thanks to its ability to absorb water, becoming malleable to the touch and mouldable, it allows the creation of objects such as cups, plates, pots, pans, oven dishes and jars. A particularly ancient art, which dates back to around 10,000 years ago: the word “ceramic” comes from the ancient Greek κέραμος, ‘kéramos’, which means ‘clay’, ‘potter’s earth’ and indicates all useful or ornamental artifacts modeled with clay and cooked at a temperature close to 1,000 °C.

The history of terracotta is the history of mankind. The findings of these objects over time have allowed us to take a picture of the evolution of civilizations. The first artifacts date back to the Neolithic era: kitchen utensils cooked directly on the fire. In fact, primitive men used the clay to seal baskets made of branches and shrubs to carry water. One day, following an unexpected container fire, they discover that, by burning, the vegetable part keeps the clay in its form. Other historical sources claim that the invention of ceramics took place in Mesopotamia and Japan/China and then spread throughout the world. The oldest objects considered date back to the 11th millennium B.C. and have been found in Japan.

With the advent of the late Middle Ages, the lathe and the baking oven began to be used, with sophisticated colors and decorations, and the first ceramic artisan workshops were born. In fact, starting from the 15th century, ceramics is the most widely used coating material on floors and walls of churches and public buildings. In a short time, it becomes the symbol of the Italian Renaissance, both in architecture and in sculpture, thanks to the wisdom of our master ceramists who evolve techniques and knowledge realizing works of great prestige. It is thanks to them that Made in Italy ceramics are still prized and sought-after products all over the world.

Starting in the 1500s, the Umbria region became the protagonist of a flourishing production of ceramics, which developed in the 1700s to become industrial in the late 1800s. Italy today is a leader in the international ceramics trade. In particular, Gualdo Tadino, Orvieto, Deruta are the leading cities in the development of ceramic art dedicated to cooking: refractory clay pans, clay for jars, pitchers, bowls, plates, glasses, oven dishes made of terracotta. An economic and easily moldable material, a symbol of Italian tradition and cuisine, capable of resisting the heat and the passing of the centuries.