/stohn"wair'/, n.
a hard, opaque, vitrified ceramic ware.
[1675-85; STONE + WARE1]

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Pottery fired at a high temperature (about 2,200°F, or 1,200°C) until vitrified (made glasslike and impervious to liquid).

Because stoneware is nonporous, glaze is applied only for decoration. Stoneware originated in China с 1400 BC and was exported to Europe in the 17th century. This red to dark-brown stoneware was copied in Germany, England, and the Netherlands. See also bone china, porcelain.

Salt-glazed stoneware Bartmannkrug with applied relief decoration, Cologne, c. 1540; ...

By courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; photograph, Wilfrid Walter
EB Inc.

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      pottery that has been fired at a high temperature (about 1,200° C [2,200° F]) until vitrified (that is, glasslike and impervious to liquid). Although usually opaque, some stoneware is so thinly potted that it is somewhat translucent. Because stoneware is nonporous, it does not require a glaze; when a glaze is used, it serves a purely decorative function. There are three main kinds of glaze: lead glaze, salt glaze, and feldspathic glaze (the same material used in the body and glaze of porcelain).

 Stoneware originated in China as early as 1400 BC (Shang dynasty). A fine white stoneware, Yüeh ware, produced during the Han dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) and perfected during the T'ang dynasty (AD 618–907), has an olive or brownish green feldspathic glaze and belongs to the celadon family. Stoneware of the Sung dynasty (960–1279) is particularly noted for its emphasis on beauty of form and its brilliant feldspathic glazes; Chün ware, for example, is covered with a thick, dense, lavender-blue glaze often suffused with crimson purple. Stoneware made in Tz'u-Chou, formerly in Honan, has a grayish white body covered with white slip (liquefied clay washed over the body before firing) and then a transparent glaze. The slip was sometimes carved away, revealing the contrasting colour of the clay body beneath. Also from the Sung dynasty are the red to dark brown Chien wares known in Japan as temmoku ware. In the 17th century, China exported to Europe stoneware made in I-hsing, in Kiangsu province; red to dark brown in colour, it was unglazed but cut, faceted, and polished. I-hsing (or, as it was called in Europe, boccaro) winepots were highly prized in Europe for making tea, which had been newly introduced; and the ware was copied and imitated in Germany, England, and the Netherlands.

      In Europe, at Meissen in Saxony, E.W. von Tschirnhaus and J.F. Böttger developed a red stoneware (in fact, varying from red to dark brown) in about 1707. Decoration included applied reliefs, engraving, faceting, and polishing. Because of the vogue for porcelain, stoneware manufacture declined in Germany in the 18th century and was finally abandoned about 1730. In the Netherlands (Netherlands, The), also during the 17th century, red stoneware was made by Ary de Milde of Delft and others in imitation of I-hsing ware. In 17th-century England attempts were made to imitate both Meissen red stoneware and I-hsing ware—for example, by John Dwight at Fulham and by John Philip and David Elers at a factory in Staffordshire. About 1690 these wares were largely replaced in England by salt-glazed stoneware, though as late as the 18th century a red stoneware was produced by Josiah Wedgwood (Wedgwood, Josiah), who called it rosso antico.

      Perhaps the majority of extant glazed stonewares are salt glazed. They were made in the Rhineland from the 15th century and in England from the 17th. In 18th-century England, salt-glazed stoneware was superseded by lead-glazed earthenware, or creamware, by porcelain, and by Wedgwood's unglazed stonewares—the black basaltes and white jaspers. In the early 19th century it was superseded in the Rhineland by porcelain. In the 20th century stoneware has been used by artist-potters such as Bernard Leach of England and his followers.

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Universalium. 2010.

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