How did the Talavera pottery become a symbol of the Puebla kitchen?

The history of the Talavera pottery is a living example of the artistic and cultural fusion that took place in colonial Mexico and that lasts through the ages.

Sopera con motivos vegetales (1850/1900) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

Crockery worthy of the food

The gastronomy of Puebla has offered iconic dishes that are an indispensable part of the Mexican diet. For dishes of such renown, crockery, plates and even full kitchens are required to honor them. Nothing better than the characteristic blue and white of the Puebla Talavera pottery and its creative designs.

Jarra polícroma con rosetones y flores (1940/1980) by Talavera UriarteAmparo Museum

This material is synonymous with beauty and practicality, the product of the fusion of the original Mexican cultures and other craftsmanship from around the world.

Of course, in order to become the symbol that it is today, there is a whole history of ingenuity where the fusion of local and Old Continent techniques comes into play. 

Tazón con motivos florales (1850/1860) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

The origins of Talavera pottery

Talavera pottery appeared in Mexico in the 16th century after the arrival of Spanish potters from a region called Talavera de la Reina who settled in the newly founded city of Puebla de los Angeles.

These potters had the custom of making a type of earthenware inspired by Muslim and Chinese ceramics called maiolica.

Panel de San Pascual Bailón (1992) by Talavera UriarteAmparo Museum

It was because of this knowledge that the potters were charged with creating materials for the pipes of the newly founded city of Puebla.

Of course, potters had to adapt their techniques to local materials.

To this end, they incorporated the knowledge of the local communities in the use of clay and thus adapted their techniques to make the maiolica.

Jarra polícroma con motivos vegetales (1840/1870) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

At the same time, the potters found a new business in the affluent families that arrived in New Spain and wanted to have fine crockery without having to import them from Spain, as the porcelain and ceramics tended to break on the trip.

This led the artisans to create a new material that was not only showy, but also practical, that is, the first versions of what would be the Puebla Talavera pottery in the future.

Contenedor para cosas calientes con agarraderas (1880/1900) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

En route to the modern Talavera pottery

Talavera pottery as it is known today did not arise until around the 18th century, when the descendants of the first potters who arrived from Spain gave themselves the task of converting the earthenware into a much finer material.

Plato repostero 2 (1890/1920) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

To achieve this, they added cobalt blue and tin to iy, creating much more polished and ostentatious surfaces.

Platón semihondo con motivo floral (1780/1850) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

Soon, the pottery workshops began to create complete crockery, glasses, jars, plates of all shapes and sizes with this new colorful, elegant and, above all, practical material.

Tazón polícromo con motivos florales (1850/1900) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

It was so much so that the Talavera pottery itself came to be used to cover the walls of houses, washbasins and, of course, kitchens.

Contenedor para cosas calientes (1850/1870) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

Talavera pottery was no longer just a decorative element, but a work of art that accompanied the day of many Puebla families and, eventually, many Mexicans throughout the country.

The finesse, creativity and care in the creation of Talavera pottery objects is what has now given it its denomination of origin; that is, you cannot get material like this anywhere else in the world.

Plato extendido con motivos vegetales (1850/1900) by AnónimoAmparo Museum

Beyond the striking features of Talavera pottery's objects, through them we witness how artistic techniques from other cultures have been adapted not only to Mexican artisans, but also to the daily life and table of the everyday Mexican.

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