The art of talavera

Talavera pottery was brought to Mexico by the Spanish colonizers

UNESCO declares talavera as part of the world’s cultural heritage
Talavera is the art of making beautiful and ornate pottery - Photo: José Castañares/AFP
English 25/12/2019 10:53 EL UNIVERSAL in English/Gretel Morales Mexico City UNESCO Actualizada 20:05
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In 2019, UNESCO inscribed talavera, a type of ornate pottery to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The beauty of Mexican pottery

This type of pottery was introduced to Mexico by the Spanish colonizers, who learned from the Arabs in the 14th century. However, Arabs started making ceramics in Iran, Irak, and Syria in the 9th century.


Photo: José Castañares/AFP

In its website, the UNESCO explains that the process to make artisanal talavera in the states of Puebla and Tlaxcala still resemble the 16th-century process, despite new technology, as Mexican artisans prepare the clay, make the earthenware using a potter’s wheel or cast, decorate the pieces by hand, prepare the pigments, and glaze and tend the kiln. Moreover, the artisans transmit their knowledge from one generation to the next:

“Some ceramists carry out the whole process, while others specialize in specific tasks. Related knowledge – including raw material extraction, material processing, decoration, and firing techniques – is mostly borne by master earthenware artisans and ceramists, who have developed their skills over time and transmit them to the next generations through oral transmission in their artisanal workshops or in the family setting.”

Photo: Víctor Rojas/EL UNIVERSAL

Furthermore, talavera pottery has become part of Mexico’s identity and an important source of income for families in Puebla and Tlaxcala.

Did you know talavera pottery can only be made in Mexico?


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