Clay-based earthenware used for sculpture / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Terracotta, also known as terra cotta or terra-cotta[2] (Italian: [ˌtɛrraˈkɔtta]; lit.'baked earth';[3] from Latin terra cocta 'cooked earth'),[4] is a term used in some contexts for earthenware. That is to say it is a clay-based unglazed or glazed non-vitreous ceramic,[5] fired at relatively low temperatures.[6]

Contemporary terracotta casserole dish
International Gothic Bohemian bust of the Virgin Mary; c.1390–1395; terracotta with polychromy;[1] 32.5 x 22.4 x 13.8 cm

Usage and definitions of the term varies, such as:

Glazed architectural terracotta and its unglazed version as exterior surfaces for buildings were used in East Asia for some centuries before becoming popular in the West in the 19th century. Architectural terracotta can also refer to decorated ceramic elements such as antefixes and revetments, which made a large contribution to the appearance of temples and other buildings in the classical architecture of Europe, as well as in the Ancient Near East.[10]

Bust of Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun; by Augustin Pajou; 1783; terracotta; height: 55cm, width: 44cm, thickness: 21cm

This article covers the senses of terracotta as a medium in sculpture, as in the Terracotta Army and Greek terracotta figurines, and architectural decoration. East Asian and European sculpture in porcelain is not covered.