Terracotta is a reddish-brown porous clay used to build sculptures and other materials, unglazed ceramic art, or decorative architecture. Terracotta is best known for its low cost, durability, abundance, and versatility. The term ‘Terracotta’ is derived from the Italian language, which means ‘baked earth.’ Terracotta can be found in almost every country in the world. (See What Is Earth’s Core Made Of?)
History of Terracotta
Terracotta was primarily used during the prehistoric age of date back to 24,000 BC. However, it has been used throughout history and proven valuable insight during the Palaeolithic era. Astonishingly, the ancient Terracotta was not shaped into useful pieces; instead, they turned out into small figurines symbolizing prehistoric cultures valued some form of art.
Furthermore, the sculptures or any terracotta product were left to bake in the sun rather than heating them over in an oven or other burning materials.
Recognized terracotta figurines from Neolithic art include The Thinker of Cernavoda (5000 BCE) and The Enthroned Goddess Figurine (c.6,000 BCE) from Romania. Not only here, but terracotta figurines are also famous in many countries, including Pakistan, China, Egypt, Greece, and Nigeria.
How to build material using Terracotta?
Before building any sculptures or other products from Terracotta, the primary thing to do is manipulate the clay in the desired form. It needs to be dried and heated in an oven or over a burning material to 1000-2000 degrees Fahrenheit to harden. This material is also known as earthenware.
The chemical reaction between the oxygen present in the air and the clay’s excessive iron content forms the striking colour. If you want the product to be waterproof, the final baked product must be glazed. However, if you leave it unglazed, it will not be waterproof.
Famous things you must know made out of Terracotta
One of Terracotta’s most well-known examples includes the Bell Edison Telephone Building located in Birmingham, England. The building’s exterior is detailed with exquisitely carved arches over the second-floor windows and comprises balconies. The building holds a unique terracotta colour.
Another thing is the Terracotta Army, located in Shaanxi, China. The site consists of more than 8000 terracotta soldiers with great chariots and horses. It was also used on the Natural History Museum facade located in London named The Royal Albert Hall (1867-71) and Victoria and Albert Museum (1859-71). (See What Is a Geode?)