Postclassic Ceramics of the Toluca Valley:

The Bauer Collection


This page is under construction. The images have been posted, but I am still developing the text below.

The Postclassic period in the Toluca Valley was the setting for a complex assemblage of polychrome ceramics. These vessels were deposited with burials at numerous sites, and thousands of whole vessels have been excavated and are now in museum collections in Mexico and the United States. Among the sites excavated by archaeologists in the twentieth century that have yielded large collections of these vessels are Teotenango, Calixtlahuaca, and Malinalco. Related sites close to the Toluca Valley yielding similar ceramics include Huamango, San Miguel Ixtapan, and Valle de Bravo. During the nineteenth century, numerous sites were "excavated" by Mexican and foreign collectors using poorly controlled methods (we would call much of this "fieldwork" looting today), and major collections of ceramic vessels were sold to museums. The largest such collection, from Tlacotepec, was sold by Frederick Starr to the Field Museum of Natural History. The hundreds of pots from Tlacotepec have not been fully studied or published.

Another major collection of Toluca Valley ceramics in the United States is the Bauer collection, the subject of this web page. These vessels, obtained by William Bauer in the Toluca Valley in the late 1800s, are now in the collections of the American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY) and the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC). The Smithsonian also has a smaller collection of Toluca ceramics from the collection of Wilson Blake, another late nineteenth century collector. In 2000 and 2001 I carried out a short research project on the vessels of the Bauer and Blake collections. I studied the pots, worked out a provisional classification, recorded dimensions and attributes, and took digital images.


I wrote a brief article on this work ("Postclassic Ceramics from the Toluca Valley in US Museums: The Bauer and Blake Collections") is in press in the German journal Mexicon. The digital images are posted here, with permission of the two museums.

The Bauer and Blake collections are from seven sites, shown in the map here. The proveniences (site names) are not included with the image pages. If you want to know which site a given vessel is from, you must consult the table of sites.

The image pages were set by by Kim Lusignan (Department of Anthropology, University at Albany, SUNY), using the Arles software.

 Photos of the vessels

Beyond the Bauer vessels, one other component of this site is now working:

 Techialoyan Style Polychrome Pitchers

 Back to Matlatzinco Home Page

This page was produced by Dr. Michael E. Smith, Professor of Anthropology, University at Albany, State University of New York.

To go to Michael E. Smith's home page, Click Here.

© 2001, Michael E. Smith (revised 7/11/01)