Thursday, November 29, 2012

Talavera - is it Moorish ? Asian ? Spanish ? or Mexican ?

YES it is!

It's believed that the process of making ceramics began in Egypt, and spread across the globe.  Moors discovered the process of a creamy white glaze made with tin. This made the perfect background for their intricate and colorful designs. Along with other mineral pigments, the Moors took their pottery making into Spain when they invaded in the 8th century. Their influence on Spanish artistic expression became ingrained over the centuries.

The name Talavera comes from the city of Talavera de La Reina, Spain. The Spaniards from this city brought their pottery craftsmanship to the new world and taught the indigenous people of Mexico the art and techniques they had practiced for centuries. While the people of Mexico had a  rich history of producing pottery long before the arrival of the Spaniards, new techniques such as the wheel, tin based glazes, and new styles were introduced. The combination of the newly learned techniques and the techniques of the indigenous people of Mexico gave birth to a new form of pottery, Talavera.

Meanwhile, in the late 16th century, China and Spain began trade relations via Mexico. The Mexicans began to incorporate the designs and techniques that were found on Chinese porcelain. The feather and floral motifs, the blue and white color, and even the barrel-shaped pottery were some of the Chinese influences that we still see today on modern pieces of Talavera pottery.

Talavera and other ceramics from Mexico truly are the "melting pots" of the pottery world.


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