Friday, March 1, 2013

Kaolinite And Chinese-Mexican Pottery In 1600's Mexico

 My Book Shelf # 25

As with a previous post which pointed to the role of silver as a catalyst for the movement of people across the oceans and a meeting of Asia with the America's in 1600's Mexico, geology in the form of clay deposits played a role in bringing full circle the story of Chinese (Ming) influence on Mexican ceramic art from the mid 1600's onwards.

The district of Puebla in Mexico has kaolin deposits of exceptional quality formed mostly by the hydrothermal alteration of a rhyolitic host rock from the Late Cenozoic Trans Mexican Volcanic Belt considered to part of the Circum-Pacific volcanic chain. This type of clay is used extensively in pottery.

By the late 1600's Puebla city had a tight knit Asian community:

One of the city's most important industries was ceramics - Puebla clay is of exceptional quality. Working with eye-straining attention to detail, skilled potters created pieces that imitated blue-and-white Ming dynasty porcelain. Guild regulations specified that "the coloring should be in imitation of Chinese ware, very blue, finished in the same style". Edward Slack, the Eastern Washington historian, points out that the manufacturers would hardly have ignored the skilled Asian craftspeople in their midst. More than likely, Puebla's fake Chinese pottery was created in part by real Chinese potters. If so, they did a splendid job: talavera ware, as it is known today, is now so highly prized that when I visited Puebla shopkeepers complained that the country was fighting an invasion of counterfeits from China - a Chinese imitation of a Chinese-made Mexican imitation of a Chinese original. 

From 1493: Uncovering The New World Columbus Created by Charles Mann.

1 comment:

  1. "a Chinese imitation of a Chinese-made Mexican imitation of a Chinese original." :) the world really is round!!!