HISTORY OF MEXICAN TALAVERA POTTERY

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INTRODUCTION:

Since the 16th century, Mexican craftsmen have been producing Talavera pottery.  This art form has evolved from ancient cultures and influenced the production of pottery in Mexico resulting in the exquisite Talavera pottery that is available today.  True, certified Talavera pottery is produced in the city of Puebla, in the state of Puebla, Mexico however, high-quality, modern Talavera pottery is also available from factories in other Mexican districts such as Dolores Hidalgo and Guanajuato.

Age-old techniques have been passed down from generation to generation by master craftsmen.  These techniques produce unique pieces that are truly works of art.  Vibrant colors and delicate details are trademarks of Talavera pottery that give it the characteristic color and brilliance known only to Talavera ware.

Talavera is a type of majolica earthenware that is fired at extremely high temperatures producing a very durable product.  Artisans are not limited to the production of tiles and vases.  You will find beautiful pieces to suit your taste in plates, jars, pots, religious figures, animals and more!

To appreciate your Talavera, you should know something of its origins.  We hope that this short history of this beautiful pottery lends a hand to creating this understanding.

ORIGINS:

From the time of the Olmecs, between 1200 BC and 600 AD, pottery has been a central part of Mexican life.  Their use of clay, knowledge of primitive firing and coloring techniques, as well as designs was passed down to other cultures that followed.  The Olmecs are considered by many as the mother culture of Mesoamerican civilizations.

Talavera de la Reina, a Spanish village, has long been influential in the world's knowledge of fine ceramics.  When the Muslims conquered North Africa and moved into Europe, their tin-glazed ceramics, known as Majolica, came to Spain.  Majolica was developed in the Middle East but gained cultural diversity through influences from the Chinese, Italians, Moors and Spanish cultures.  Spanish craftsmen learned and further developed this craft and, in the 16th century, introduced it to Mexico.  The term Talavera is used to describe faithful reproductions of the pottery that is made in Talavera de la Reina, Spain.

When the Spanish introduced their stylized pottery to their recently established colony in Mexico, the local artisans blended these new techniques with their established practices to creat the famous Talavera pottery of Mexico.  It is believed that the first workshop was established in the city of Puebla around 1600 AD.  Puebla became the home of authentic Mexican Talavera and is where the first potter's guilds were formed to establish standards and regulations for the production of Talavera.

MODERN TALAVERA:

Today, the fabricas in Puebla go through a certification process to ensure Talavera's uniform quality, distinctive style and excellence.  These certified fabricas place their name and registry number on each piece they produce. 

EXAMPLE OF "CERTIFIED" TALAVERA SIGNATURE

Uriarte is one of the oldest certified Talavera fabricas in Puebla.  Uriarte Talavera was founded by Sr. Don Dimas Uriarte in 1824.  They offer the finest Talavera products in Mexico.

   

EXAMPLE OF "CERTIFIED" TALAVERA POTTERY

Majolica ceramics, made in the Talavera style, are produced throughout many different regions of Mexico.  These new influences have produced a variety of modern styles and designs that are growing in popularity.  One such area, Dolores Hidalgo, is the home of Artesanias Amora fabrica.  It is considered the best fabrica in the area and produces some of the finest quality modern Talavera in Mexico today.  Although these products do not meet the exacting standards established by the Consejo Regulador de Talavera, they are fine quality modern Talavera pieces a modest prices.

  

EXAMPLES OF ARTESANIAS AMORA

Talavera pottery is available in different shapes, styles and price ranges.  Whether you are looking for a "certified" piece to add to your collection, or more pieces for every day use, the choice is yours!

HOW TO TREAT YOUR TALAVERA:

As we have already discussed, Talavera is fired at very high temperatures making it a very durable product.  We recommend treating your Talavera as you would treat any other fine china product.  If you decide to place it in the dishwasher, use care to ensure that it does not rattle against other pieces during the washing process. It is microwave safe, but use care as it will absorb heat.  The high firing temperatures also make it oven safe.  We recommend placing the piece in the oven when the oven is started and let it warm up with the oven.  With proper care, your Talavera piece will last for years to come!

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