PORCA, n.p. In Imp. Gazetteer Porakád, also called Piracada; properly Purakkadu, [or according to the Madras Gloss. Purakkatu, Mal. pura, ‘outside,’ katu, ‘jungle’]. A town on the coast of Travancore, formerly a separate State. The Portuguese had a fort here, and the Dutch, in the 17th century, a factory. Fra Paolina (1796) speaks of it as a very populous city full of merchants, Mahommedan, Christian, and Hindu. It is now insignificant. [See Logan, Malabar, i. 338.]

[1663–4.—“Your ffactories of Carwarr and Porquatt are continued but to very little purpose to you.”—Forrest, Bombay Letters, i. 18.]

PORCELAIN, s. The history of this word for China-ware appears to be as follows. The family of univalve mollusks called Cypraeidae, or Cowries, (q.v.) were in medieval Italy called porcellana and porcelletta, almost certainly from their strong resemblance to the body and back of a pig, and not from a grosser analogy suggested by Mahn (see in Littré sub voce). That this is so is strongly corroborated by the circumstance noted by Dr. J. E. Gray (see Eng. Cyc. Nat. Hist. s.v. Cypraeidae) that Pig is the common name of shells of this family on the English coast; whilst Sow also seems to be a name of one or more kinds. The enamel of this shell seems to have been used in the Middle Ages to form a coating for ornamental pottery, &c., whence the early application of the term porcellana to the fine ware brought from the far East. Both applications of the term, viz. to cowries and to China-ware, occur in Marco Polo (see below). The quasi-analogous application of pig in Scotland to earthen-ware, noticed in an imaginary quotation below, is probably quite an accident, for there appears to be a Gaelic pige, ‘an earthen jar,’ &c. (see Skeat, s.v. piggin). We should not fail to recall Dr. Johnson’s etymology of porcelaine from “pour cent années,” because it was believed by Europeans that the materials were matured under ground 100 years! (see quotations below from Barbosa, and from Sir Thomas Brown). c. 1250.—Capmany has the following passage in the work cited. Though the same writer published the Laws of the Consulado del Mar in 1791, he has deranged the whole of the chapters, and this, which he has quoted, is omitted altogether!

“In the XLIVth chap. of the maritime laws of Barcelona, which are undoubtedly not later than the middle of the 13th century, there are regulations for the return cargoes of the ships trading with Alexandria. … In this are enumerated among articles brought from Egypt … cotton in bales and spun wool de capells (for hats?), porcelanas, alum, elephants’ teeth. …”—Memorias, Hist. de Barcelona, I. Pt. ii. p. 44.

1298.—“Il out monoie en tel mainere con je voz dirai, car il espendent porcelaine blance, celle qe se trovent en la mer et qe se metent au cuel des chienz, et vailent les quatre-vingt porcelaines un saic d’arjent qe sunt deus venesians gros. …”—Marco Polo, oldest French text, p. 132.

„ “Et encore voz di qe en ceste provence, en une cité qe est apellé Tinugui, se font escuelle de porcellaine grant et pitet les plus belles qe l’en peust deviser.”—Ibid. 180.

c. 1328.—“Audivi quòd ducentas civitates habet sub se imperator ille (Magnus Tartarus) majores quàm Tholosa; et ego certè credo quòd plures habeant homines. … Alia non sunt quae ego sciam in isto imperio digna relatione, nisi vasa pulcherrima, et nobilissima, atque virtuosa porseleta.”—Jordani Mirabilia, p. 59.

In the next passage it seems probable that the shells, and not China dishes, are intended.

c. 1343.—“… ghomerabica, vernice, armoniaco, zaffiere, coloquinti, porcelláne, mirra, mirabolani … si vendono a Vinegia a cento di peso sottile” (i.e. by the cutcha hundredweight).—Pegolotti, Practica della Mercatura, p. 134.

c. 1440.—“… this Cim and Macinn that I haue before named arr ii verie great provinces, thinhabitants whereof arr idolaters, and there make they vessells and disshes of Porcellana.”—Giosafa Barbaro, Hak. Soc. 75.
In the next the shells are clearly intended:

1442.—“Gabelle di FirenzePorcielette marine, la libra … soldi … denari 4.”—Uzzano, Prat. della Mercatura, p. 23.

1461.—“Porcellane pezzi 20, cioè 7 piattine, 5 scodelle, 4 grandi e una piccida, piattine 5 grandi, 3 scodelle, una biava, e due bianche.”—List of Presents sent by the Soldan of Egypt to the Doge Pasquale Malepiero. In Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, xxi. col. 1170.

1475.—“The seaports of Cheen and Machin are also large. Porcelain is made there, and sold by the weight and at a low price.”—Nikitin, in India in the XVth Cent., 21.

1487.—“… le mando lo inventario del presente del Soldano dato a Lorenzo … vasi grandi di Porcellana mai più veduti simili ne meglio lavorati. …”—Letter of P. da Bibbieno to Clar. de’ Medici, in Roscoe’s Lorenzo, ed. 1825, ii. 371.

1502.—“In questo tempo abrusiorno xxi nave sopra il porto di Calechut; et de epse hebbe tãte drogarie e speciarie che caricho le dicte sei nave. Praeterea

  By PanEris using Melati.

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