PORCA to PORGO
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.]
[16634.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. Johnsons 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!
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.In the next the shells are clearly intended:
1442.Gabelle di Firenze Porcielette marine, la libra soldi denari 4.Uzzano, Prat. della Mercatura, p. 23.
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