Exploring distant countries and retracing the history of man over time, we find a common denominator: ceramics. The myths of the creation of man tell of the divinity intent on manipulating clay to give it shape, appearance and life. In a Babylonian epic poem it is the goddess Aruru who creates the first man with clay, through the archaic technique of Neolithic potters.
According to ancient Egyptian myth, however, the god Khnum shapes all creatures with a potter's wheel. In Jewish tradition the Creator molds Abraham from the earth. Some versions hold that, just like pottery, the clay was "fired" by soul fire.
From the different colors of the earth, Muslims maintain, the human races of white, black, brown, yellow, olive-green, half-black and red originated. Greek mythology tells how Prometheus created men out of clay by deceiving Zeus. According to the poet Hesiod, Zeus, to take revenge, sent Pandora, the first woman, cause of all evil, created with earth and water by Hephaestus, god of craftsmen and artists.
Often the shape of the vase has recalled the female body, the vase symbolizes the maternal womb where the newborn develops and is protected. In Greek art the association was immediate, so much so that vases with breasts were modeled.
The first objects that man made in ceramic, almost 10,000 years ago, were "copies" of himself. When he becomes sedentary, he discovers almost by chance that clay, in contact with fire, becomes more resistant. He thus builds containers to store food and drinks, embellishing them with impressions of natural objects and engravings. 3,000 years ago, Chuan, a Chinese ruler of the first dynasty, was a potter. Since then, the art of ceramics and then porcelain developed in the country of Confucius, an undisputed model for other civilisations.
We owe the Egyptians, in the 12th century BC, the discovery of coating with colored enamels to embellish and waterproof objects. Before the appearance of enamels, ceramics were decorated with colored earth, i.e. engobes.
The Etruscans, in the Italian peninsula, left evidence of great elegance with simple and plastic shapes in a style very close to modern essentiality.
Amphorae and vases were shaped with the ancestor of the potter's wheel: harmonious objects, documents of life, arts, sports and legends. Through the Arab expansion, the art of ceramics was imported into Spain, Valencia, where enamels and lusters made objects created with the earth splendid, and into Italy, where Faenza majolica was developed, which reached the height of its enchantment in 1500 .
After the splendor of Italian ceramics between 1700 and 1800, France became the leading country in manufacturing, dictating fashion and style at the end of the last century. Sèvres porcelain was very famous and imitated. The city became a Royal Manufactory with Louis XV and experienced its moment of greatest fame in the Napoleonic era, with the Empire style. The precious decorations with gilding, both shiny and opaque, were particularly famous.
Unfortunately, due to the advent of synthetic materials such as plastic, uses and tastes have changed; Ceramics are less and less part of our household equipment and our daily lives.