The photograph of the chest full of talavera bowls was taken in the courtyard of the Uriarte Talavera Factory on 4 Poniente, in Puebla. It is one of the first factories to produce talavera ceramics, and was one of my favorite places to visit as it was only 2 blocks from my apartment.
Talavera is a type of maiolica/majolica pottery with a white base glaze, and was brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the 16th century. It is a mixture of Italian, Spanish and indigenous ceramic techniques. The white base glaze must craze, be slightly porous and milky-white, but not pure white. There are only six permitted colors: blue, yellow, black, green, orange and mauve, and these colors must be made from natural pigments. The people of Puebla inherited their knowledge of the Talavera technique during construction of the Church of Santo Domingo, which began in 1571, and was completed in 1611. Its interior is considered one of the most impressively ornate in the world and a superb example of the Mexican baroque style.
The number of Talavera tiles on the facade of a building was equated with the prosperity of a family or business, and there is a saying that if you aren't able to build a house with tiles, you haven't amounted to anything in life.
Today, only pieces made in designated areas and from certified workshops are permitted to call their work "Talavera."