Mexican Plates Are All Talavera Plates the Same?
7 Things to Look For when Buying Talavera
Mexican plates remind us of home, the sun, bright days, music and enjoyment Hispanic style. Talavera plates in particular, because of their color and magnificent texture transport us to the artisans’ shops where the plates take life.
A perfect Talavera plate has the ability to brighten the space where you display it, be the center of attention at the table, take you back to Puebla Mexico, and let you entertain with style. No other hand made pottery dish can do such a great job.
The question you may ask is: Are all Talavera dishes made the same? In other words, do you need to know specific characteristics or elements to look for in that particular piece before you make your decision? You bet! And I will tell you why.
7 Things to Look for When Buying Talavera
- The traditional ceramic that uses the color blue because of its tradition. In the olden times a person acquiring a blue Talavera piece knew that only the top quality ones were painted blue. The blue mineral artisans used was very expensive, so it became available only for top notch pieces.
- Each product should be marked at the bottom of each piece with the artisan’s workshop name or business to guarantee each piece’s authenticity. This still applies today.
- Talavera dishes can be classified into fine for decoration and display, semi fine, and for daily use. Be sure they weren’t painted with lead so you can use them freely to entertain or display.
- Beware of the many poor imitations available today. Remember to check the signature at the bottom of the piece, that if is from Puebla, as ONLY pottery from Puebla can be called Talavera, it must have it.
- Look for pieces that are microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe.
- If looking for modern designs, welcome the intricate floral designs that give the signature to the modern Talavera and that make such an impact at the dining table.
- Make sure your Mexican plates are chip and crack resistant. Each piece is valuable but you should be able to use it and enjoy it.
First A Bit of History of the Talavera
Talavera started in Mexico way back in the XVI century when the city of Puebla was born in 1531. The Spaniards were very concerned about spreading the catholic faith and were building majestic churches, cathedrals and homes, all requiring azulejos or Talavera.
When the Spaniards arrived in Puebla, they found very skilled artisans and an excellent clay that was perfect to produce pottery the same way they did it in Talavera de la Reina, Spain.
Almost immediately the process started and Puebla became the second most prominent city in Mexico.
Tradition tells that the monks from the Santo Domingo Monastery sent for artisans to train the indigenous people of Puebla in the production of Talavera or Majolica like they call it in Spain.
The artisans from Puebla learnt how to use the potter’s wheel and how to tin glaze the pottery, that until then was redish tinted by the color of the clay.
Businesses producing Mexican dishes and Talavera pottery overall flourished so rapidly that they needed new regulations and guidelines to guarantee the authenticity and quality of the Talavera dishes and tiles, therefore they created a guild.
Some of the rules that applied at that time became prevalent in today’s production of Talavera pottery, and they serve as guidance when buying a Mexican dish, specifically a Talavera plate or pottery.
Did You Know…
Chinese imports try to copy Talavera with no success. The quality is inferior and there is no way they can compete with such a low quality product according to the comments given in a press conference in 2007 by Angélica Moreno, a Talavera business owner and expert living in Puebla, Mexico.