Talavera Declared Intangible Global Patrimony

Photo: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia


Talavera, the thick, heavy pottery that has become synonymous Mexico’s central state of Puebla, has been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The traditional Mexican handicraft is the first Mexican artisan technique to merit the United Nations distinction.

Talavera is a unique Mexican artform that dates back to the 16th century.

It is a traditional type of maiolica (tin-glazed) pottery produced exclusively in the colonial capital of Puebla and the surrounding localities of Atlixco, Cholula and Tecali.

First introduced by Spanish colonists, talavera poblana is still produced using the same techniques that the earliest native potters learned from their European teachers. It is the oldest tin-glazed pottery in the Americas.

Franciscan monks enlisted the skill of artisans from Talavera de la Reina in Spain to teach local indigenous people how to make tiles and pottery.

What distinguishes the Puebla pottery is the type of clay used to make it, as well as its colorful patterns and designs.

The production of talavera pottery is a long and tedious process, and must comply with specific rules and regulations, including a the six-color palette of blue, yellow, black, green, orange and mauve. (Blue is reserved for the finest pieces.)




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