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Fairly coarse, porous clay that, when fired, assumes a colour ranging from dull ochre to red. Terra-cotta objects are usually left unglazed and are often of a utilitarian kind, because of their cheapness, versatility, and durability. Small terra-cotta figures from 3000 BC have been found in Greece and others throughout the Roman Empire from the 4th century BC. The use of terra-cotta virtually died out when the Roman Empire collapsed, but it was revived in Italy and Germany in the 15th century.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on terra-cotta, visit Britannica.com.
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