Why Is Dinnerware Called "china"?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 11, 2020 1:05:30 PM ET
dinnerware-called-china
DEA / L. PEDICINI/De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Dinnerware is sometimes called "china" as a reference to the country of China, where the first porcelain was produced. Porcelain has historically been the material used in the production of fine dinnerware.

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Porcelain wares were made in China as early as 196 to 220 B.C., during the Eastern Han Dynasty. Islamic areas began importing porcelain goods around 618 B.C.

By the time of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, China was exporting art made of porcelain to all the way to Europe. Porcelain objects produced in China became so admired in Europe that "china" became a common word for porcelain. Even though common dinnerware is not always porcelain today, the term continues to be used when referencing dinnerware.