The Egyptians, centuries before our era, produced small objects such as amulets, charms, small figures of gods, scarabei, etc., by carving them in a kind of soapstone, which was covered with glaze and baked, thus producing a kind of pottery. Scarabei have been found bearing the date of 2020 B. C.
The artistic Egyptian pottery is siliceous, between earthenware and porcelain, its grain is very fine, resisting the greatest heats, and it is generally covered with thin glaze, colored blue or green by oxides of copper. Soft pottery was produced from the earliest ages ; it was generally unglazed and undecorated, though sometimes ornamented with geometrical figures. Since the time of the Ptolemies a lustred ware has been made ornamented with characteristic but inartistic paintings ; after the Ptolemies Egyptian art lost its originality, influenced by the Greeks and afterwards by the Romans during their domination.
The Israelites produced in Judea the same kind of pottery which their forefathers had made in Egypt before their expulsion ; this is seen in fragments at the Louvre, which show the same siliceous earth enamelled in blue.