Mexican Talavera pottery has a long history that dates back to the early 15th century, soon after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. When the Spanish first conquered the Puebla region, they introduced new pottery techniques from the city of Talavera de la Reina in Spain to this pottery-making area. The Mexican city of Puebla was established in 1531and placed strategically between two major volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, as the slopes of these volcanoes are sources of tin-rich clay, but each with its own properties; the combination of clay from the bases of each volcano creates a very desirable clay body that was appropriate for making this decorative pottery.
Talavera de la Reina pottery was traditionally designed with blue and white glazes that were originated in Asian pottery, but the Spanish motifs typically depicted biblical events and images of saints such as the Virgin Mary. Spanish artisans taught these techniques and the depiction of these motifs to the indigenous Mexican peoples, as part of the larger Spanish efforts to convert the natives to Christianity.
When the Mexican people claimed their independence from Spain in 1821, Mexican Talavera pottery also changed. New colors of glaze were introduced in the pottery to accompany the traditional blue and white, including red, yellow, green, black, and orange. Rather than focusing solely on European biblical images, the motifs on the Talavera pottery also expanded to include motifs meaningful to the Mestizo (mixed indigenous and Hispanic) peoples, including native animals, flowers, and traditional geometric designs from ancient Mesoamerican cultures.
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu