Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (Italian: [ˌtɛrraˈkɔtta]; lit. 'baked earth'; from Latin terra cocta 'cooked earth'), in its material sense as an earthenware substrate, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic where the fired body is porous.
In applied art, craft, construction and architecture, terracotta is the term normally used for sculpture made in earthenware, and also for various practical uses including vessels (notably flower pots), water and waste water pipes, roofing tiles, bricks, and surface embellishment in building construction. The term is also used to refer to the natural brownish orange color of most terracotta.In archaeology and art history, "terracotta" is often used to describe objects such as figurines not made on a potter's wheel. Vessels and other objects that are or might be made on a wheel from the same material are called earthenware pottery; the choice of term depends on the type of object rather than the material or firing technique. Unglazed pieces, and those made for building construction and industry, are also more likely to be referred to as terracotta. Glazed terracotta for tableware, and other vessels, is called earthenware, or by a more precise term such as faience which denotes a particular type of glaze.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.

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.

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  1. AntonioAcunaR

    How to revive these terracota tiles (and are they sealed?)

    I have just moved into a 1950s build (1930s design) block of flats. All windows have a tile windowsill, original feature as all hundred odd flats have it. With time, they have suffered a bit, and I want to revive them colour wise, and refresh the grouting (even if it is with a grouting pen) I...