Talavera pottery originated in the Arab-Andalusia culture of Talavera de la Reina, Spain, where it was known as majolica. When Spanish monks came to Mexico in the 16th century, they wanted to decorate their monasteries and churches with tiles like they had back home. But although pre-Hispanic Mexican cultures had a long history of working in ceramic, they didn’t use a potter’s wheel or glaze. The monks brought specialized artisans to the Mexican state of Puebla to train them in the majolica style. Mexican artisans fused their knowledge of ceramic techniques and local materials with their own interpretation of majolica, creating the distinctive patterns and colors that have come to be known as talavera pottery.
These colorful mugs are created in the Talavera style by a family-run studio in Guanajuato, Mexico. They’re microwave and dishwasher safe, making them just as practical as they are beautiful.
Handcrafted in Guanajuato, Mexico, with food-safe glazes. Holds 13 oz each. Approximately 4 3/4"H x 4"D x 5"W including handle.
Microwave- and dishwasher safe.
About Talavera Pottery
With roots in Andalusian Spain, the Mexican ceramic technique of talavera is the major craft of the state of Puebla. Earthenware pottery is covered with a white tin glaze, which is then decorated with pigments before the white glaze is fired. Since the tin glaze is highly viscous, it lends a glossy surface and helps the lines of the colored design remain crisp during firing.
The technique is a true cross-cultural craft evolution. In the 13th century, Arab potters brought tin glazing ceramic techniques from North Africa to southern Spain. The pottery was given the name maiolica by Italians who imported it from the Spanish island of Majorca. During the conquest, Spanish priests brought craftsmen from Talavera de la Reina, Spain, to the Puebla region of Mexico, where they taught the native craftsmen their Arab-Andalusian ceramic techniques. These early pieces, tiles and religious icons, decorated Catholic churches throughout the area. Over the years, Mexican craftsmen combined these new ideas with their existing earthenware traditions and developed a homegrown version that is now known by the Spanish name talavera.
Is it "Real" Talavera?
Just as true champagne can only be made in the Champagne region of northeast France, only talavera produced in the Mexican state of Puebla can be certified as authentic by the Talavera Regulating Council. The talavera-style pottery we sell at National Geographic is not certified authentic, for a variety of reasons. Pursuing certification can be an expensive process, and some of the small studios we work with, even if they are located in Puebla, choose not to incur that cost. But most importantly for us, authentic talavera must be produced according to the original methods from the 1600sthis includes the use of lead-based glazes. We prefer to err on the side of safety and only sell talavera-style items that meet or exceed FDA regulations for acceptable lead content.
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