16 May 2023, Read Time : 9 Min

Traditional Tile Manufacturing methods from around the world

person making tile in a traditional way

Tiles have been used by humanity for thousands of years and have become a staple of almost all construction. Not only are tiles functional and durable, but they are also often used as a decorative feature in interior design, decoration, and architecture. Over the ages, different parts of the world have developed unique methods of designing and manufacturing tiles.This diversity is not only seen in the different colours, but also in materials, techniques, styles, patterns, shapes, and lots more. 

Let us take a walk into the world of tiles and traditional tile manufacturing styles from around the world. We will try to throw light on the cultural significance and artistry that goes into making these tiles. Here we give you some of the interesting tiles from around the world and Indian traditional tiles making. 

The World of Tiles :- 

1. Moroccan Zellij Tiles

Moroccan Zellij Tiles

Morocco is well-known around the world for its decadent, intricate, and colourful mosaic tiles known as the Zellij tiles. These tiles are made by cutting small ceramic tiles into smaller pieces that are later arranged into complex geometric patterns. These tiles are set using cement or plaster while the gaps between the pieces are filled using materials, such as grout. These tiles were once upon a time handcrafted by skilled artists and the patterns often had specific and symbolic meanings in Moroccan culture. 

Today, you can bring the beauty of Moroccan tiles to your home without ripping a hole in your pocket, you can check these tiles.

2. Spanish Talavera Tiles

Spanish Talavera Tiles

Talavera tiles are a form of traditional and typical ceramic tiles that are named after the town of Talavera de la Reina, situated in Spain. Made using a combination of water, clay, and various natural pigments, this combination is then shaped and painted with intricate patterns by hand by skilled artisans. Once shaped and painted, these tiles are then fired in a kiln to provide them with hardness and a distinct glazed and glossy finish. These tiles are known around the world for their distinct and detailed designs and vibrant colours. Most designs feature geometric and floral patterns. 

3. Chinese Porcelain Tiles

Chinese Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles have been used since ancient times in China and can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). These tiles are made using a special type of clay known as kaolin. This clay is ground almost to dust and is then mixed with water to form a smooth paste-like substance. This paste is then poured into various moulds and is fired in a kiln at very high temperatures. The resultant tiles are translucent yet durable. Chinese porcelain tiles feature delicate, intricate, and stunning hand-painted designs which generally depict scenes from Chinese mythology, culture, and nature. 

5. Portuguese Azulejo Tiles

Portuguese Azulejo Tiles

A traditional ceramic tile from Portugal, the Azulejo tiles are often used to adorn public spaces and buildings. These tiles are made using ceramic tiles. Ceramic tiles are glazed with a coloured glaze and are then fired in a kiln. Later, the tiles are hand-painted with delicate patterns, including historical scenes, geometric designs, and floral motifs. These tiles are famous for their vibrant white and blue combinations as these two shades are an important part of the Portuguese cultural heritage. 

5. Mexican Talavera Tiles

Mexican Talavera Tiles

Like Spain, Talavera tiles also have a rich and exhaustive cultural history in Mexico. They are made using a similar technique, except the materials, such as clay and pigments are native and local. The tiles, once shaped, are fired in a kiln for a durable and long-lasting finish. These tiles are known for their bold patterns and bright shades and often feature designs such as abstract designs, animals, and flowers representing Mexican and Mexican culture. 

6. Egyptian Faience Tiles

Egyptian Faience Tiles

Faience tiles which are a type of ceramic tiles can be traced back to ancient Egypt. To make these tiles quartz, clay, and various pigments are mixed together. This mixture is then shaped and fired at low temperatures resulting in an opaque and porous tile. The resultant tiles are then glazed and then fired once again at a high temperature to create a stunning glossy finish. These tiles are known for their intricate and stylised patterns, geometric motifs, and delicate designs. They are available in various vibrant and bold colours. 

7. Delftware Tiles from the Netherlands

Delftware Tiles from the Netherlands

Delftware tiles are also popularly known as Delft tiles. These are available in various shades of blue and white. They are made by painting white glazed tiles with designs in shades of blue. The resultant tiles are then fired in a kiln. The tiles feature various designs, such as landscapes, seascapes, and flora and fauna of the Netherlands. 

8. Iznik Tiles from Turkey

Iznik Tiles from Turkey

These are stunning hand-painted ceramic tiles that can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire in Turkey. These are ceramic tiles that are painted on with intricate designs by skilled artisans. These tiles often feature floral motifs, bold colours, intricate patterns, and delicate designs. One thing that makes these tiles stand apart from the rest is that they often have intricate Arabic calligraphy as a design motif. 

9. Majolica Tiles from Italy

Majolica Tiles from Italy

These are hand-painted ceramic tiles that can be traced back to the Renaissance era in Italy. Ceramic tiles are painted with intricate designs in various colours and are then glazed and fired in the kiln. These tiles often have intricate floral designs, vibrant colours, and mythological scenes. 

Indian Traditional Tiles

Like various ancient cultures of the world, India too is blessed with a rich history of tile manufacturing and methods that have been passed down through generations. These tiles are proof and representation of cultural heritage, creativity, and craftsmanship. Here are a few of the many traditional tiles that have been and are still being made in India.

1. Handmade Terracotta Tiles

Handmade Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta tiles are perhaps one of the oldest methods and forms of tiles that are still being made in India. As the name suggests, these tiles are made using natural clay that is shaped by hand. The clay is kneaded well to remove any air bubbles and impurities and is then shaped into tiles by either hands or by using wooden moulds. The resultant tiles are then dried in the hot sun and then finally fired in a kiln for added durability. These tiles are known for their rustic textures and earthy colours and are often used in various traditional Indian structures, such as houses and temples.

No two terracotta tiles are the same and the colours of these tiles change with age. If the maker desires different hues, they can add different oxides to the tiles before they are fired. As these tiles are porous, it is recommended to seal them annually so that they become resistant to scratches and stains. A well-sealed terracotta tile is shiny and smooth and can be used indoors as well.

If you want the look of terracotta without the hassle of regular maintenance, you may check out these terracotta tiles.

2. Jaipur Blue Pottery Tiles

Jaipur Blue Pottery Tiles

A unique form of ceramic tile, these tiles originated in the city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. These tiles use a combination of a special clay, known as Multani Mitti or Fuller’s Earth, glass powder, and quartz powder. This mixture is kneaded to make a dough-like product which is then shaped using hands or moulds. The resultant tiles are painted with naturally occurring blue pigments and are then glazed and fired in a kiln. These tiles are known for their vibrant blue and white shades and intricate geometric and floral patterns. These tiles are generally used as floor and wall decorations.

3. Agra Inlay Tiles

Agra Inlay Tiles

These tiles are also known as Pietra Dura and are known after the city where they originated, i.e. Agra, Uttar Pradesh. These tiles can be traced back to the Mughal dynasty when natural stones and semi-precious materials, such as marble, lapis lazuli, and jasper were used to create these stunning designs. Sometimes, precious stones such as rubies and emeralds too were used to inlay in the tiles. These stones are cut and shaped into delicate designs that are laid in a base of sandstone or marble. Later the whole tile is polished to create a glossy and smooth surface. These tiles are known for their price, look, intricate floral, and geometric patterns, and exquisite craftsmanship. The Taj Mahal is a prime example of the use of this style of tiles.

4. Khurja Pottery Tiles

Khurja Pottery Tiles

Khurja is a small town located in the state of Uttar Pradesh that is well-known for a traditional tile and pottery-making technique known as Khurja. Khurja tiles use a combination of clay, quartz, and felspar. This mixture is then shaped into tiles with hands or with wooden moulds and is then dried under the sun. Finally, they are fired in a kiln to harden them. Once hard, the tiles are painted using natural pigments and are finished with a glaze for a stunning glossy finish. These tiles are known for intricate designs, bright shades, and for being affordable.   

5. Kutchi Tiles from Gujarat

Kutchi Tiles from Gujarat

While Kutch is known for its dance, culture, landscape, food, and clothes, it is also well-known for its vibrant tiles that feature intricate designs. These clay tiles, made in the Kutch region of Gujarat, are made using various clays which are then painted using geometric patterns, folk art, and floral patterns using natural dyes. These tiles also feature heavy mirror work and are often used in traditional Kutchi architecture. 

6. Mosaic Tiles from Rajasthan

Mosaic Tiles from Rajasthan

These are traditionally styled tiles that are manufactured in Rajasthan. These are known for their amazing craftsmanship and intricate designs. These tiles are decorated using stones, coloured glass, and pieces of tiles that are arranged in a mosaic design. These tiles often have Islamic geometric designs, floral motifs, along with other intricate designs. 

7. Athangudi Tiles

Athangudi Tiles

Athangudi, a small village in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, is well-known for its tiles. These tiles are manufactured individually by artisans. They use a mixture of cement with oxide paint and can either be patterned or solid. The tiles are then cured on a glass surface for a smooth and stunning finish. These tiles are available in many designs and are generally available in the shades of yellow, blue, and red. No two Athangudi tiles are the same. They do not need extra polishing or maintenance and can be cleaned by regular swabbing and sweeping. These tiles are long-lasting and eco-friendly. 


Whether Indian or of the world, traditional tile manufacturing methods combine a rich cultural heritage, skills, artistry, diversity, craftsmanship, and cultural significance. These tiles are sure to stay and will enhance the look of your space. 

How Can Orientbell Tiles Help?

With its exquisite offering of tiles available in various colours, shapes, patterns, designs, and materials,Orientbell Tiles. offers a way to bring the beauty of the world to your house. Do check the innovative TriaLook – a tile visualisation tool that will allow you to choose tiles in a jiffyl.




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Mannika Mitra

Mannika Mitra is an Arts Graduate from the Delhi University & a Post-Graduate Diploma holder in Journalism and Mass Communication. She has worked as a digital producer with new agency; ANI, NDTV & Hindustan Times before joining Orientbell Tiles as a part of their digital and content marketing team. Her interest in interior design and knowledge of tiles comes from her family of architects and Tile Shop owners. In her quest to write useful blogs that help users pick the right tiles and renovation inspiration, she frequently does research with architects, tile dealers among others. Apart from writing content for the website she loves to travel, know about various cultures and binge watch on OTT platforms.

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