History of tile in brief
Since ancient times, glazed tile has been a fundamental element
of architecture & construction. Throughout entire periods
of history, the description of buildings is impossible without
continual reference to glazed ceramic materials. The history
of tiles dates back as far as the fourth millennium BC where
in Egypt tiles were used to decorate various houses. In those
days, clay bricks were dried beneath the sun or baked, and
the first glazes were blue in color and were made from copper.
As early as 4,000 BC ceramics were also found in Mesopotamia.
These ceramics bore decorations, which were white, and blue
striped and later possessed more varied patterns and colors.
In China, the great center of ceramic art, a fine, white stoneware
with the earliest Chinese glaze was produced during the Shang-Yin
Dynasty (1523-1028 BC).
Through the centuries, tile decoration was improved upon,
as were methods of tile manufacture. For example, during the
Islamic period, all methods of tile decoration were brought
to perfection in Persia. Throughout the known world, in various
countries and cities, ceramic tile production and decoration
reached great heights. The tile mosaics of Spain and Portugal,
the floor tiles of Renaissance Italy, the faiences of Antwerp,
the development of tile iconography in the Netherlands, and
the ceramic tiles of Germany are all prominent landmarks in
the history of ceramic tile.
Tracing the three distinct phases of tile in history shows
why ceramic tile use is growing at such an accelerate rate.
Based on the history, ceramic is divided into three phases.
First, Classic Phase in 9th century-1870, the very expensive
building materials, restrictively used for wealthy patrons,
church and state project (painstakingly made by hand). Second,
Industrial Revolution Phase in 1870-1960, viewed as a structural
element, not a design feature because at the time it was basically
available as unglazed red quarry paves or plain white wall
tile. Third, High-Tech Phase in 1960-21st Century, incorporating
classic, historical design elements and the rich colors and
textures of the earlier hand-made products. Today’s
ceramic tile products serve both design and technical function.
And at last, tile is understood and valued as a versatile
design option and decorative investment.