A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling.

The earliest ceramics made by humans were pottery objects, including 27,000 year old figurines, made from clay, either by itself or mixed with other materials, hardened in fire. Later ceramics were glazed and fired to create a colored, smooth surface. Ceramics now include domestic, industrial and building products and a wide range of ceramic art.

The word “ceramic” comes from the Greek word κεραμικός (keramikos).

In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied artobjects, or as artifacts in archaeology. They may be made by one individual or in a factory where a group of people design, make and decorate the ware. Decorative ceramics are sometimes called “art pottery”.

turquoise ceramic vase by Accolay France circa 1950. H 64.5 DIA 32 CM

turquoise ceramic vase by Accolay France circa 1950. H 64.5 DIA 32 CM

There is a long history of ceramic art in almost all developed cultures, and often ceramic objects are all the artistic evidence left from vanished cultures, like that of the Nok in Africa over 2,000 years ago. Cultures especially noted for ceramics include the Chinese, Cretan,Greek, Persian, Mayan, Japanese, and Korean cultures, as well as the modern Western cultures.

Ceramic by Suzanne Tison, France, 1960, H 45 cm

Ceramic by Suzanne Tison, France, 1960, H 45 cm