From the time of the Olmecs, between 1200 BC and 600 AD, pottery has been a central part of Mexican life. Their use of clay, knowledge of primitive firing and coloring techniques, as well as designs was passed down to other cultures that followed. The Olmecs are considered by many as the mother culture of Mesoamerican civilizations.
Talavera de la Reina, a Spanish village, has long been influential in the world’s knowledge of fine ceramics. When the Muslims conquered North Africa and moved into Europe, their tin-glazed ceramics, known as Majolica, came to Spain. Majolica was developed in the Middle East but gained cultural diversity through influences from the Chinese, Italians, Moors and Spanish cultures. Spanish craftsmen learned and further developed this craft and, in the 16th century, introduced it to Mexico. The term Talavera is used to describe faithful reproductions of the pottery that is made in Talavera de la Reina, Spain.
When the Spanish introduced their stylized pottery to their recently established colony in Mexico, the local artisans blended these new techniques with their established practices to creat the famous Talavera pottery of Mexico. It is believed that the first workshop was established in the city of Puebla around 1600 AD. Puebla became the home of authentic Mexican Talavera and is where the first potter’s guilds were formed to establish standards and regulations for the production of Talavera.