E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Porcelain (3 syl.),
from porcelana, a little pig. So called by the Portuguese traders, from its resemblance to cowrie-shells, the shape of which is not unlike a pigs back. The Chinese earthenware being white and glossy, like the inside of the shells, suggested the application of the name. (See Marryatts History of Pottery and Porcelain.)