Terra cotta is a hard semifired waterproof ceramic clay used in pottery and building construction. The term is also used to refer to items made out of this material. The name is Italian for "baked earth".
Terra cotta has been used throughout history for sculpture and pottery, as well as bricks and roof shingles. In ancient times, the first clay sculptures were dried (baked) in the sun after being formed. Later, they were placed in the ashes of open hearths to harden, and finally kilns were used, similar to those used for pottery today. Terra cotta usually has a brownish-orange color.
Significant uses of terra cotta have included the Terracotta Army of China, built in 210 - 209 BC.