Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fun Fact about Porcelain and Piglets

Found on  Facebook..... "I just today discovered the derivation of the word 'porcelain'.  When Marco Polo reported of China's white, smooth and durable clay, the only object he could compare it to was conch shells, which the Italians nicknamed little piglets. Little piglets in Italian is Porcellana. "

 Not entirely trusting of anything found on the internet, I dug sligthly deeper, and found additional supporting evidence, and while I am sure there is more to the story, another layer is added  as to why the pig?:
porcelain (n.) Look up porcelain at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Middle French porcelaine and directly from Italian porcellana "porcelain" (13c.), literally "cowrie shell," the chinaware so called from resemblance of its lustrous transparency to the shiny surface of the shells. The shell's name in Italian is from porcella "young sow," fem. of Latin porcellus "young pig," diminutive of porculus "piglet," diminutive of porcus "pig" (see pork (n.)). According to an old theory, the connection of the shell and the pig is a perceived resemblance of the shell opening to the exposed outer genitalia of pigs.


smartcat said...

Sweet! ;)

Jenny Mendes said...


Melissa Kojima said...

Wow. How strange. Thanks for sharing . . . and also for finding all these cute piggies!