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.
Porcelain slowly evolved in China and was finally achieved (depending on the definition used) at some point about 2,000 and 1,200 years ago, then slowly spread to other East Asian countries, and finally Europe and the rest of the world.
Other raw materials can include feldspar, ball clay, glass, bone ash, steatite, quartz, petuntse and alabaster.
The clays used are often described as being long or short, depending on their plasticity.
Traditional East Asian thinking only classifies pottery into low-fired wares (earthenware) and high-fired wares (often translated as porcelain), without the European concept of stoneware, which is high-fired but not generally white or translucent.
Terms such as "proto-porcelain", "porcellaneous" or "near-porcelain" may be used in cases where the ceramic body approaches whiteness and translucency.
This potentially enabled women to have as many children as they wanted, at a time of their choosing; have a better chance of organising parenthood around their careers; and enjoy a recreational sex life without the constant fear of getting pregnant.
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Kaolin is the primary material from which porcelain is made, even though clay minerals might account for only a small proportion of the whole.