Acoustic, Sculptural, Ornamental and Polished Plaster and Stucco
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History of Plaster

The oldest plasters were found in Mesopotamia (Region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in W Asia)  Sumerians used lime, clay and sand to decorate walls and floors. It is also found on Mediterranean Island of Malta Ggantija (Maltese for giant) temples around 3600 BC. People of 'Ain Ghazal in Jordan (Around 7200 BC) used lime mixed with unheated crushed limestone to make plaster which was used on a large scale for covering walls, floors, and hearths in their houses. Often, walls and floors were decorated with red, finger-painted patterns and designs. In ancient NW India people used marble plaster called kurra. It is a mixture of lime and finely ground marble where paste made of lime putty and marble dust is applied in several layers on the walls and floors and then polished with the smooth stone. Similar process is used in ancient NW Africa (Morocco, Moorish plaster work is most complex and beautiful work) and their plaster is called Tadelakt. In ancient China, renders in clay and gypsum plasters were used to produce a smooth surface over rough stone or mud brick walls., while in early Egyptian tombs, walls were coated with lime and gypsum plaster and the finished surface was often painted or decorated. Greeks took recipe from Egyptians and they improved it. Greeks philosopher and Historian Theophrast (372-287 B.C.) Precisely described fabrication and application of plaster. Modeled stucco was employed throughout the Roman Empire. The Romans used mixtures of lime and sand to build up preparatory layers over which finer applications of gypsum, lime, sand and marble dust were made; pozzolanic materials were sometimes added to produce a more rapid set. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the addition of marble dust to plaster to allow the production of fine detail and a hard, smooth finish in hand-modeled and molded decoration was not used until the Renaissance. Around the 4th century BC, the Romans discovered the principles of the hydraulic set of lime, which by the addition of highly reactive forms of silica and alumina, such as volcanic earths, could solidify rapidly, even under water. ( Roman concrete) There was little use of hydraulic mortar after the Roman period until the 18th century. (Rediscovery of concrete)

Plaster decoration was widely used in Europe in the middle Ages where, from the mid-13th century, gypsum was used for internal and external plaster. Animal hair was employed as reinforcement, with additives to assist set or plasticity including malt, beer, milk and animal blood. In the 14th century, decorative trawled plaster, called pargetting was being used in Southeast England to decorate the exterior of timber-framed buildings. This is a form of incised, molded or modeled ornament, executed in lime putty or mixtures of lime and gypsum plaster. During this same period, terracotta was reintroduced into Europe and was widely used for the production of ornament. In the mid-15th century, Venetian skilled workers developed a new type of external facing, called Marmorino.

In the 16th century, stuccoists working in Bavaria invented a new highly decorative type of decorative internal plasterwork, called Scagliola. This was composed of gypsum plaster, animal glue and pigments, used to imitate colored marbles and Pietre Dure ornament. Sand or marble dusts, and lime, were sometimes added. In this same century, the Sgraffitto technique, also known as Italian artists introduced graffito or scratch work into Germany, combining it with modeled stucco decoration. This technique was practiced in antiquity and was described by Vasari as being a quick and durable method for decorating building facades. The 17th century saw the introduction of different types of interior plasterwork. That period was golden age for Scagliola artists (Mostly Italian Monks) broad this type of plaster till perfection.