Have you ever seen or come across beautifully designed pottery like the one shown in the image? This decorative style is known as Talavera and can be found in the Mexican state of Puebla. The technique is so unique that in 2019, UNESCO declared the “Manufacturing Process of Talavera Ceramics” as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Puebla recently and came across local artisans along the roads that are experts in Talavera, who taught me some interesting information about it.
According to the locals, Talavera is an ancient technique that was discovered in the year 850 A.C in some Arab countries such as Iraq and from there it spread all the way from India to Spain. It ultimately reached the state of Puebla with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors who not only used it for pottery because of its high-quality, but also used it for religious ceremonies, funerals and extraordinary sculptures.
The technical definition of the Talavera technique, registered under INDAUTOR, is “Typical pottery from the Puebla area, made with clay and made up of a ceramic body covered with tin glaze, decorated with metallic colors and worked manually on site”. In all honesty, this definition is simple compared to what the entire process truly entails. Artisans go through a number of steps in order to be able to finally decorate the ceramics. This long process is all worth it because at the end, you have a high-quality, beautifully decorated product that won’t break easily and will resist extremely high temperatures.