Guide: Ceramic Pottery vs. Porcelain

More often than not, “ceramics” is used as a blanket term to describe both pottery (earthenware) and porcelain, causing confusion among consumers. However, it's crucial to understand the differences between porcelain and ceramic pottery so that you can take proper care of your precious pieces. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the characteristics of each material, their unique features, and how to keep them in pristine condition. By the end of this guide, you'll have a better understanding of porcelain and ceramic pottery and be able to fully appreciate the beauty and functionality of these timeless ceramics. So let's dive in and explore the fascinating world of ceramics!

In this article: 


Works from Sheng Ceramic on a wooden table

Pottery is a type of ceramic ware that is made from earthenware clay, which is rich in minerals and natural materials. Compared to porcelain clay, ceramic pottery clay has a lower density and weaker hardness, which makes pottery thicker in general in actual production. However, this thicker construction doesn't necessarily result in heavier pieces; the overall weight of the vessel becomes lighter due to the low density of the clay.

One of the unique characteristics of pottery typically made from earthenware clay is its tendency to absorb water easily. While this can be a desirable feature for some functional pieces like flower pots or planters, it can also lead to changes in the appearance of the vessel and leave an odor after multiple uses. For tips on how to prevent and remove odors from your pottery, check out our pottery care guide. Additionally, the texture of pottery is not completely uniform, and each piece can present a unique, warm expression. These softness and variations in appearance are some of the most attractive features of pottery, making it a popular choice for home decor, functional pieces, and pottery tableware. Whether you're looking for a rustic and earthy aesthetic or a cozy and inviting ambiance, pottery made from clay is a great choice.


Natural and Black Hasami Porcelain plates and mug on a table linen

Semi-porcelain is a type of ceramic that shares characteristics with both pottery and porcelain. Like pottery, semi-porcelain has a warm and moist appearance, and the texture of cream color is perfect for showcasing a variety of rich glazes. However, compared to porcelain, semi-porcelain is more absorbent, which makes it ideal for creating pieces like plates, bowls, and mugs. Our Hasami Porcelain collection is a great example of semi-porcelain, as it is made from a proprietary blend of natural stone and clay materials that creates a unique texture and durability. Check out our Hasami Porcelain collection collection for some beautiful and functional semi-porcelain pieces.


Rinka Collection by Kaneko Kohyo on a table

Porcelain is a type of ceramics that is primarily made from kaolin clay, a fine-grained white clay that is abundant in nature. In addition to kaolin, porcelain is usually mixed with other natural materials such as feldspar, quartz, and petuntse or china stone. The use of these materials makes porcelain a durable and long-lasting material, resistant to chipping, scratching, and staining.

Porcelain is fired at high temperatures, which results in a clay body that is firmer and more durable than other types of ceramics, including pottery and semi-porcelain. This allows porcelain to be presented with a thinner thickness, making it ideal for creating delicate and intricate designs. Porcelain dishes and porcelain tile are known for their translucency and white color, making them a popular choice in construction, art, and home decor.

One of the most notable features of porcelain is its low water absorption rate, which is due to the dense and vitrified nature of the clay body. This makes porcelain a highly durable material that can be used for a long time without the risk of water damage or other forms of wear and tear.

Main Differences

When it comes to ceramic materials, the main difference between pottery and porcelain lies in their composition. Pottery is typically made from natural clay, which is mixed with a few organic materials and water. On the other hand, porcelain is made from a mixture of clay, kaolin, silica, quartz, feldspar, and other materials. Kaolin is the key component in porcelain, giving it its tight structure and low porosity.

While both pottery and porcelain are great options for tableware, they differ in their composition and aesthetic qualities. Porcelain, with its denser, smoother, and less porous nature, is well-suited for creating fine and detailed dinnerware. It is also more durable and translucent than pottery, making it a popular choice for those seeking a refined and elegant aesthetic. On the other hand, pottery has a unique, rustic charm that is perfect for those who prefer functional and earthy pieces. Ultimately, the choice between porcelain and pottery for tableware comes down to personal preference and the desired aesthetic for your home.

Another difference between pottery and porcelain lies in their firing temperatures. Pottery is typically fired at lower temperatures, resulting in a clay body that is less dense and more porous. Porcelain, on the other hand, is fired at high temperatures, which makes the clay body firmer and more durable. This difference in firing temperatures also contributes to the differences in appearance and texture between the two materials.

In conclusion, while both porcelain or ceramic pottery are types of ceramic materials, their differences in composition and firing temperatures result in unique characteristics and properties. Whether you prefer the rustic charm of pottery or the elegance and durability of porcelain, both materials have a place in the world of ceramic art and design.  

Pottery Porcelain
Composition Earthenware clay Kaolin clay, feldspar, silica, and other minerals
Density Lower density Higher density
Hardness Weaker hardness Higher hardness
Thickness Typically thicker Can be made thinner due to high firing temperature
Appearance Unique warmth Translucent and smoother
Water Absorption More absorbent Almost no water absorption
Durability Less durable More durable
Uses Flower pots, dinnerware, baking dishes Fine dinnerware, figurines, decorative pieces, tiles

Pottery and Porcelain Care Instructions:

Now that you know the main differences between pottery and porcelain, it's important to take care of your ceramic pieces to keep them looking their best. Proper care can extend the life of your pottery and porcelain, and help to prevent damage or wear over time. Whether you're a collector or just someone who loves beautiful ceramics, following these general care guidelines can help you get the most out of your pieces.
  1. Avoid rapid temperature changes: Both pottery and porcelain are sensitive to rapid temperature changes. To avoid cracks or other damage, never place hot pottery or porcelain directly into cold water or vice versa. Allow your ceramic pieces to cool or warm up gradually.

  2. Hand washing is recommended: To extend the life of your pottery and porcelain, hand washing is recommended. Use a gentle dish soap and warm water, and avoid using abrasive scrubbers or harsh chemicals that can damage the glaze or finish. When using a dishwasher, leave enough room between each piece to avoid collision. This will help to prevent scratches, chips, or other damage to your pottery and porcelain.

  3. Clean after use and avoid leaving food for too long: To prevent staining or odors on your favorite tableware, it's recommended that you clean your pieces immediately after use. This is especially important for pottery, which tends to absorb water and other liquids more easily than porcelain. Avoid leaving food or liquid in your pieces for extended periods of time, as this can cause discoloration or odor. Once you have cleaned your pottery or porcelain, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place until they are completely dry before putting them away.

  4. Ensure pieces are food safe: Before using your pottery or porcelain for food, make sure that they are intended for this purpose. Some pieces may not be food safe or may contain harmful materials such as lead. Always check the label or ask the manufacturer to confirm that your ceramic pieces are safe for use with food.

  5. Follow manufacturer's instructions: When in doubt, always follow the manufacturer's instructions for caring for your pottery and porcelain. They may have specific recommendations for cleaning or maintenance that will help you get the most out of your ceramic pieces.

Our Pottery Products:

At Mogutable, we offer a wide variety of unique and beautiful pottery pieces to add a touch of warmth and character to your home. From functional pieces like bowls and plates to decorative pieces like flower vase, our pottery products are handcrafted with care by skilled artisans using high-quality clay. Each piece has its own unique character and charm, making it a perfect addition to any space.

Some of our favorite pottery products include pieces from Sheng Ceramics, Jang Hun Seong's White Slip Covered Plates, and Ceramic Mt. Fuji Japanese Rice Bowls. Each piece is carefully crafted to showcase the beauty and versatility of natural clay, and is sure to become a treasured part of your home decor.

9 pottery tableware in a 3x3 grid
Shop Our Pottery Products

Our Porcelain Products:

For those who prefer the elegance and durability of porcelain, we offer a variety of semi-porcelain and porcelain pieces that are both functional and beautiful. Made with a blend of kaolin clay, silica, quartz, and other high-quality materials, these semi-porcelain and porcelain products are fired at high temperatures to create a smooth, non-porous finish that is perfect for use in the kitchen or dining room.

Some of our most popular semi-porcelain/porcelain products include the Hasami Porcelain, Early Bird Collection from Studio M', and the Rinka Collection. Each piece is designed to showcase the beauty and versatility of porcelain, and is perfect for everyday use or special occasions. Whether you're looking for a simple, elegant dinnerware set or a unique and functional piece to add to your collection, we have the perfect semi-porcelain/porcelain piece for you.

9 porcelain tableware in a 3x3 grid
Shop Our Porcelain Products