Terracotta is a type of ceramic called earthenware, and its name is a translation from the Italian word for baked earth. It is a clay-based material that is baked in a kiln, or by heat from the sun, at a temperature lower than other ceramic types. Because of this the final result is not as strong or dense as other ceramic types and is more porous. Terracotta can be left unglazed or it can be finished with a glazed topcoat to add a water protectant layer.
Sedimentary clay—which contains organic and mineral impurities—is used to form earthenware clays. Terracotta gets its notorious red color from iron oxide deposits in the clay. Terracotta has been used in sculptural art, architecture, and pottery for centuries in civilizations all over the world. Its modern use can be seen in tiles and mosaics, building materials such as roof tiles or architectural decoration, pottery and vessels such as planters and bakeware, or in industrial sectors for use as sewer or drainpipes.