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Art Encyclopedia - Terracotta

Art inTerracottaation > Art Encyclopedia > T > Terracotta

Terracotta
Terracotta is an italian word, meaning baked earth. Sculpture in terracotta makes possible intricate and detailed modelling and highly textured surfaces which would be difficult, if not impossible, to cast.

Since very early times terracotta it has been used to make figures and architectural ornaments and it is to these, rather than pottery vessels, that the word terracotta usually refers. The presence of certain chemicals, such as iron oxide, affects the colour of the baked product, so terracotta works are not necessarily of the reddish-brown colour that is normally associated with the word. Firing may produce a wide range of colour from light buff to deep red or black. The hardness and strength of the baked clay vary according to the temperature at which it has been fired. During the firing the clay shrinks by about one-tenth of its volume, sometimes more, sometimes less, according to its quality and the amount of moisture.






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