Types Of Porcelain Dinnerware

What Are The Three Types Of Porcelain Dinnerware?

Porcelain dinnerware is not just elegant and sophisticated, but also durable and versatile. In this blog post, we will delve into the history and characteristics of porcelain dinnerware, focusing on the three main types of porcelain dinnerware: hard-paste, soft-paste, and bone china.

What is Porcelain Dinnerware?

Porcelain dinnerware is a type of ceramic dinnerware, known for its white and translucent appearance. It is made from a mixture of clay and other materials, fired at high temperatures to achieve its unique properties.

What Is Porcelain Used For?

Since ancient times, porcelain has been used in homes as tableware and décor. Porcelain has been used to create a wide range of commonplace items, including serving dishes and tea cups, because of its remarkable durability. 

History of Porcelain Dinnerware

Porcelain was invented in China over a centuries-long development period starting with "proto-porcelain" items from the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BCE). These early glazed ceramic wares evolved into porcelain by the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE), which the Chinese referred to as high-fired ware.

The now-standard requirements of whiteness and translucency were met by the late Sui dynasty (581–618 CE) and early Tang dynasty (618–907 CE), in types like Ding ware. Already, the goods had been shipped to the Islamic world, where they were greatly appreciated.

Types Of Porcelain Dinnerware

Hard-paste Porcelain

Hard-paste (also called true porcelain) is the most widely used variety. The earliest examples of what we now refer to as true hard-paste porcelain date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), when they began to take on a green tint and became known as celadon porcelain.

Hard-paste porcelain is made from a combination of kaolinite, feldspar, and quartz (or other forms of silica) at a very high temperature. 

Hard-paste is a translucent and bright, white ceramic. It has an advantage over soft-paste porcelain in that it is less likely to crack when exposed to hot liquids. However, the higher firing temperature of hard paste may necessitate a second "glost" firing for the decoration

Hard-paste Porcelain

Soft-paste Porcelain

Soft-paste porcelain is also called "soft paste", or "artificial porcelain". It is weaker than "true" hard-paste porcelain and does not require either its high firing temperatures or special mineral ingredients. 

Artificial porcelain originated in the attempts by many European potters to replicate hard-paste Chinese export porcelain, especially in the 18th century, and the best versions match hard-paste in whiteness and translucency, but not in strength. 

Soft-paste ingredients varied considerably but always included clay, often ball clay, and often ground glass, bone ash, soapstone (steatite), flint, and quartz. 

It is delicate and lightweight, with a slightly grainy texture. Soft-paste porcelain is less durable than hard-paste porcelain but is more affordable. Best uses for soft-paste porcelain include everyday dining and casual gatherings.

Soft-paste Porcelain

Bone China

A kind of vitreous, translucent pottery known as "bone china" is made from feldspathic material, kaolin, and bone ash as raw materials. According to definitions, it is "ware with a translucent body" that has at least 30% phosphate that is either calcium phosphate or phosphate from calcined animal bone. 

Known for its high levels of translucency and whiteness, bone china is one of the strongest varieties of whiteware ceramics. Compared to other forms of whiteware, it can be made in thinner cross-sections due to its high strength. It is vitrified, just like stoneware, but because of the different mineral properties, it is translucent.

Bone China

Frequently Asked Question

Is Porcelain A Type Of Ceramic?

Indeed, porcelain is one of many materials used in ceramics, including earthenware and stoneware. Transparency is one easy way to distinguish porcelain from other ceramics because it is translucent rather than opaque. You can tell if something is porcelain if you hold it up to a light source and see light shining through. Nevertheless, this method is not always accurate because porcelain's transparency can be limited by painting or certain glazes.

Turning a ceramic object over and looking at any area that isn't glazed is an even easier method to tell if it's stoneware or earthenware as opposed to porcelain if you see a coarse, grainy texture. Porcelain pieces are highly valued by collectors because they are generally thinner, lighter, and stronger than any other ceramic.

How To Wash And Maintain Bone China?

It's essential to handle bone china gently to avoid chips or cracks. You should use a soft sponge or cloth and a mild detergent. Avoid sponges or harsh detergents because they can damage the delicate surface of the china.

You need to avoid stacking your bone china dinnerware because this can cause chips or cracks. Instead, put each piece on a soft surface or in a china cabinet with padded shelves. 

Conclusion

Porcelain dinnerware, whether hard-paste, soft-paste, or bone china, adds an element of sophistication to any dining table. Understanding the characteristics and best uses of each type can help you choose the perfect dinnerware for your needs. Choose wisely and elevate your dining experience with porcelain.

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