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A Legacy in Clay: The Ceramics of Tonalá, Mexico

March 18, 2022–March 19, 2023

Golden Gallery

Earthenware Jar from Tonalá, mid- 18th-late- 18th century, Burnished and painted earthenware, 33 1/2 × 22 3/8 × 13 13/16 in. (85.1 × 56.9 × 35.1 cm), Purchased with funds provided by the Lillie and Roy Cullen Endowment Fund, 2021.21

 


The town of Tonalá, Mexico, has a long history with clay, dating back to the pre-Hispanic period and enduring to the present day. Tonalá’s contemporary dedication to ceramic arts was spurred by Early Modern Europeans’ obsession with the quality of the region’s clay beginning in the early sixteenth century. This exhibition highlights a selection of SAMA’s collection of Tonalá ceramics, which span from an important recent acquisition of an eighteenth-century monumental Tonalá vessel, to a variety of works from the twentieth century that demonstrate the trajectory of style in Tonalá pottery. This focus exhibition offers visitors a glimpse into an important genre of SAMA’s Latin American art collection while demonstrating the breadth in styles achieved by some of Tonalá’s expert ceramicists. 

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