The First Mass Produced Items of the Ancient World


The first mass produced pieces of artwork were the ancient Egyptians shabtis which were essentially miniature mummies that the ancient Egyptians believed had magical powers and were therefore buried with the dead. Shabtis were comprised of Egyptian faience which is a type of glass ceramic material made from sand. Egyptian faience is referred to as such in order to distinguish it from faience, which is a tin glazed pottery associated with Faenza, Italy. The idea of Egyptian faience was to replicate semiprecious stones like turquoise lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, which at the time was more expensive than gold. The recipe for Egyptian faience is 90% crushed silica, crushed fine natron salt to act as a flux, crushed limestone, and then the coloring with blue being the most popular, a color achieved through the use of pure copper oxide. Water was introduced to turn this composition from a granular mix into a dough like substance. Natron salt which is a type of baking soda, is the key ingredient to this recipe as it rises to the surface when baked and lowers the overall temperature at which sand melts and becomes glass. The statues are left to stand for 24 or more hours as this helps the salt grow on the surface through a chemical reaction process as oxygen within the ambient environment mixes with the ingredients inside the Egyptian faience

World Renowned Porcelain of Jingdezhen, China


The city of Jingdezhen, China had for centuries been the ceramic capital of China, but it was the manufacturing of porcelain which gave China it’s first world recognized brand, built off of the back of the Ming vase. If the emperor requested a piece of pottery from Jingdezhen, 10 identical pieces would be manufactured, with only 2 being sent to the emperor. The remaining 8 pieces could not be touched by human hands and subsequently were destroyed in the imperial kiln

Middle Eastern Tile Craftspeople


Middle Eastern tile craftspeople developed the technique of hand made tiles by placing refined clay into a mold and etching 3 finger marks into the back of the tile. This method was devised to ensure that the tile would be able to grip the grout placed behind it upon the wall during installation. These same craftspeople created the method of slowly heating their molded tiles over 36 hours to temperatures above 540 degrees Celsius. At temperatures which reach this height and when provided enough time, the particles within the clay fuse together which turns the clay into ceramic. The final step to this process was the addition of glaze which was essentially liquid glass. The only step which proceeded this finishing of the tile was the painting of said tile, which was usually performed using bright contrasting colors following geometric patterns which provide a dazzling array of shapes when viewed from afar