< thumb|A figurine made of porcelain-->
< 220px|right|thumb|A Chinese Tang Dynasty (ca. 700 AD) tri-color glazed porcelain horse, using yellow, green and white colors. -->
"Porcelain" is a ceramic material made by heating to high temperature selected and refined materials often including clay in the form of kaolinite. These materials when mixed with water forms a plastic paste that can be worked to a required shape or form before firing in a kiln at temperatures of between about 1200 degrees Celsius and about 1400 degrees Celsius. The toughness, strength and translucence of porcelain arises mainly from the formation at high temperatures within the clay body of the mineral ''mullite'' and glass.
Porcelain was so-named after its resemblance to the white, shiny Venus-shell, called in old Italian ''porcella''. The curved shape of the upper surface of the Venus-shell resembles the curve of a pig's back (Latin ''porcella'', a little pig, a pig).
Properties associated with porcelain include those of low permeability, high strength, hardness, glassiness, durability, whiteness, translucence, resonance, brittleness, high resistance to the passage of electricity, high resistance...