Porcelain (/ˈpɔːrsəlɪn/) is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including a material like kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). Porcelain teapots are made of porcelain.
The strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste, soft-paste and bone china. The category that an object belongs to depends on the composition of the paste used to make the body of the porcelain object and the firing conditions.
Porcelain slowly evolved in China and was finally achieved (depending on the definition used) at some point about 2,000 to 1,200 years ago, then slowly spread to other East Asian countries, and finally Europe and the rest of the world. Its manufacturing process is more demanding than that for earthenware and stoneware, the two other main types of pottery, and it has usually been regarded as the most prestigious type of pottery for its delicacy, strength, and its white colour.
It combines well with both glazes and paint, and can be modelled very well, allowing a huge range of decorative treatments in tablewares, vessels and figurines. It also has many uses in technology and industry.