China was the birthplace of porcelain making and proto-porcelain wares exist dating from the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC) while at 618–907 AD it was already exported to the Islamic world, where it was highly prized. The ceramic material is made by heating materials, generally including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C. The toughness, 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.
High resistance to chemical attack and thermal shock
The material derives its present name from the Italian porcellana (cowrie shell) because of its resemblance to the translucent surface of the shell. Porcelain can informally be referred to as china or fine china in some English-speaking countries. Properties associated with porcelain include low permeability and elasticity; considerable strength, hardness, toughness, whiteness, translucency and resonance; and a high resistance to chemical attack and thermal shock.
The biggest porcelain vase in the world is eight meters high
This year a record was broken! The biggest porcelain vase in the world, which stands around eight meters high, was created in early 2015 for the "Porcelain Worlds" exhibition at Castle Leuchtenburg in Thüringen. Artist Alim Pasht-Han, from the Caucasus region, created the 7.90 m-high objet d'art for the exhibition together with long-established porcelain manufacturer Reichenbach, and Sika Germany is proud to note that he relied on Sika's tried and tested Sikaflex® products to do so. Hitherto, all attempts to bond porcelain pieces on this monumental scale had failed. Thanks to Sikaflex®, they have now succeeded!
Sikaflex reconstructs biggest vase on earth
The unique design consists of 360 honeycomb shaped porcelain pieces, which were built up one upon the other in 13 layers, and further secured on the inside with Sikaflex®. The artist took his inspiration for the honeycomb and horsetail principle from nature. This enabled him to give such a fragile material as porcelain the necessary stability and size to make the vase. The motifs, which were painted by hand on each and every honeycomb, are also taken from nature. The artist confined himself here to the traditional porcelain colors of cobalt blue and gold. After around a year and a half of design and manufacturing work, in April 2015 the vase was ready to be presented at the Porcelain Worlds exhibition at Leuchtenburg.
The "Porcelain Worlds" exhibition is definitely worth a visit – the world's biggest vase, held together by Sika products, is an impressive sight! Visit the exhibition.