Header for Resources for Teachers


Art Objects are Part of Daily Life: Platter


Tin-glazed earthenware
Late seventeenth century
42 x 64 x 7 cm

Hispano-Muslim conventions were often combined with motifs and surface decoration of European, Chinese, and even native Mexican origins to create a distinctive Puebla style.


This seventeenth century platter was used in everyday life for food as well as decoration.

Technique or Process

The shape of this platter is derived from Baroque silverware. The lavish use of cobalt blue on this platter is extraordinary considering its value at the time. There are no known sources for cobalt in or near Mexico. Puebla workshops probably purchased cobalt imported from Spain, where it had been sent from the Middle East or North Africa in cake form.4 It is also possible that it was imported from China.

Cultural Roots

Among the Hispano-Muslim decorative conventions that have influenced Puebla potters during the seventeenth century, the horror vacui (fear of empty spaces) was perhaps the most important. The affinity for decorating the entire surface of a vessel with small dots is typical of this aesthetic. In the 1682 amendment to the 1653 issuance of the potteršs ordinances, the first clause specifies the use of aborronado (blurred dot) decoration in blue, which is visible in this platter.

Lesson Plans
Visual Arts Lesson: Creating and decorating a pinch pot
Extension Activities

Social studies: Where the different motifs originated
Science: Location of cobalt and how it might have made its way to Mexico


image of a line divider
Home | Handbook | Lesson Plans | Games and Activities
Exhibition | Collectors and their Collections | For Teachers | Cultural Exchange | For Families | Timeline | About this Website | Site Map
Museum of Fine Arts Houston | College of Education, UH

Graphic links to MFAH, College of Education and University of Houston

link to museum of fine arts houston link to college of education at the university of houston link to the university of Houston website
Link to home page of The Granduer of Vice Regal Mexico