Close this window to return to the unit.

Uses for Containers

Begin by discussing containers in general: what influences the way they look (their size or shape, for instance). Usually they are directly influenced by their use or purpose.
Ask the students what types of containers they might use today.

  • Examples at home (dishes, cups, toilet)
  • Examples in tradition or rituals (church, weddings, Thanksgiving dinner, trophies)
  • How does their use affect their design?

Three main things to compare among ceramics

  • Shapes (including use or purpose)
  • Materials
  • Decoration

Look at the ceramic containers in the Grandeur of Viceregal Mexico exhibit.

1. Locate Mexico on the map

2. Discuss the appearances of the following four ceramics objects and their use:


Pear-shaped bottle, porcelain, from China

Used for pouring

Would it pour fast or slow?

Platter, tin-glazed earthenware, Puebla

Used to serve food

What might you eat off this plate?

Flower pot,
tin-glazed earthenware, Puebla

The flowerpot was used for flowers, of course, but some students will not know the word - chamberpot.

Kids will love this purpose- note the flat top compared to the scalloped top of the flowerpot.

Chamber pot,
tin-glazed earthenware, Puebla