Tumia Tiles: Handmade Talavera Tiles from Mexico

Talavera is a type of maiolica earthenware pottery that is distinguished by it’s distinctive white base glaze. Authentic Talavera pottery only comes from the city of Puebla in Mexico, and the nearby communities of Atlixco, Cholula, and Tecali, because of the quality of the natural clay found there.

The tradition of production goes back to the 16th century and was originally brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the first century of the colonial period. Production became highly developed in Puebla due to demand for tiles from the many newly established churches and monasteries in the area and by the mid-17th century standards and Guilds had been established further improving the quality of Talavera pottery in Puebla. The tradition there is formerly known as Talavera Poblana to distinguish it from the Talavera pottery of Spain.

Originally much of the pottery was decorated only in blue, but other colours including yellow, black, green, orange and mauve were later introduced. The craft is a mixture of Italian, Spanish and indigenous ceramic techniques.

Having struggled during the Mexican War of Independence in the early 1800s, the Talavera tradition saw a revival in the early 20th century thanks to the efforts of artists and collectors. The craft was further strengthened in the late 20th century with the introduction of new designs and the passage of the Denominación de Origen de la Talavera law to protect authentic, Talavera pieces.

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