Earth from A to Z
Mucem, fort Saint-Jean—
Salle des collections
From Wednesday 9 November 2022 to Monday 17 April 2023
Earth is one of the first and oldest materials available to man and ceramics, whose name comes from the ancient Greek “keramos” meaning “potter’s earth” or “clay”, was the first “fire art” practised by man, before the advent of glass and metal work.
Earth is thus first and foremost the very basis of ceramics. Then, with the help of water, the craftsman’s hands work it to make it more malleable, to model it and to shape it. Then air intervenes and envelops the pieces during the drying process. Finally, fire reveals colours and transparencies, giving the final touch to the ceramics, a result that is sometimes surprising and unexpected. And because it associated the four elements, water and earth, fire and air, ceramics was very soon charged with a symbolic dimension.
Based on the principle of the “From earth to pot” showcase in the cultural gallery of the former Musée national des arts et traditions populaires, the “Earth” abecedary explores the forms and their permanence, the gestures and techniques, and the origins of these ceramic collections, as well as the virtuosity of the craftsmen who bring about all these metamorphoses, in search of constant experimentation.