The Talavera pottery has its roots in the Arab-Andalusia culture in Spain. About 8 centuries ago Arab potters settled in a location now days known as Talavera
de la Reina and established and developed the techniques and procedures to create the earthenware known as Majolica.
The word Majolica originated in Italy and it refers to a process that the Italians used in the 14th Century to produce ceramics. This technique consisted basically of applying or brushing pigments on raw or unfired glaze.
Majolica was introduced in Mexico in the 16th Century, when according to the most accepted theory, Spanish monks used craftsmen imported from Talavera de La Reina to teach native artisans living in the Puebla region how to work the clay in order to craft pieces comparable to the ones produced in Spain. The monks wanted to decorate monasteries and churches with tiles and religious figures.
The prehispanic cultures of Mexico had enjoyed for long time the work of skillful native potters that produced earthenware for daily use as well as for cultural and religious purposes. However, they did not use the potter's wheel or tin-glazed their pottery. The main characteristic of majolica ceramic is precisely its beautiful glaze work.
The Mexican craftsmen blended the majolica process with their own interpretation of the method to work the clays of the region and incorporated their art forms and colors. Their product became to be known as Talavera.
Talavera ceramic is made in several parts of Mexico, but the official Talavera is only produced in Puebla. The Talavera produced in certain workshops in Puebla is now officially designated, recognized and protected by the Government of Mexico. These Talavera manufacturers must follow a complex and strict technical fabrication process dating from the 16th Century and use only clay from a few approved clay sites in the Puebla area.
Since the mineral pigments needed to produce the color blue were very expensive, this color was reserved for the finest ceramic. Talavera buyers could easily differentiate the quality of fine ceramic from the one of lesser quality. During the 18th Century the Talavera artisans started to broaden the designs of their ceramic by using more colors, like green, mauve and yellow, in addition to the blue tones that were very popular in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
Thanks to the artistic skills and the high quality of the clays, the Talavera form Puebla has achieved high quality and beauty. In the centuries XIX and early XX it became common for wealthy families in Mexico to have extensive collection of talavera dinner sets and decorations. Since then, it has been treasured and appreciated by collectors and admirers all over Mexico and in many other parts of the world.