Saturday, March 13, 2010
Today's WORD-A-DAY: SOFT-PASTE PORCELAIN
Although there were early attempts to reproduce Chinese porcelain (which first appeared in Europe near the 14th century), soft-paste porcelain was developed in the early part of the 18th century. European potters tried to achieve the quality of Chinese hard-paste porcelain, but they didn't have the same materials that were readily available in China. The mixture of clay and glass, which the Europeans initially used, required a firing at lower temperatures (so that it wouldn't melt), and therefore the consistency was "softer," and more porous. Soft paste porcelain has a creamy quality to it (as opposed to the pure white color of Chinese porcelain), and if there's a convenient chip somewhere, you will see a grainy interior covered with a glassy glaze.