Postclassic Ceramics of the Toluca Valley:

"Techialoyan Style" Polychrome Pitchers

This page describes examples of an unusual style of polychrome pitcher from the Postclassic Toluca Valley. José García Payón called this style "Techialoyan" after a town in the Toluca area. It is not clear why he chose that name, since the vessels are found in a number of sites in the Toluca Valley. There is little resemblance between the designs on these vessels and the seventeenth-century Techialoyan Codices from the area (see bibliography below). The designs are more elaborate and naturalistic than most Postclassic central Mexican polychromes, and they contrast with the strongly geometric style of the Postclassic polychrome bowls, plates, and jars of the Toluca Valley. These pitchers could date to the early post-conquest period, but they do not closely resemble any known Early Colonial ceramics from central Mexico.

The pitcher at the right is from the Bauer collection at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, NY (reproduced with permission). It is catalog no. TV1-079 in my catalog of Toluca Valley Postclassic ceramic vessels. For information on the Bauer collection, see my article "Postclassic Ceramics from the Toluca Valley in US Museums: The Bauer and Blake Collections" in Mexicon, vol. 23 (6): 141-146,

The pitchers at the left are on display in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City. They are from the Late Postclassic site of Tizatlan in Tlaxcala. They share the style of decoration with the pitchers from the Toluca Valley, and the one in front shares the hollow handle with an opening. A similar style is found on at least one Postclassic bowl from the site of Zultepec in Tlaxcala (Martínez Vargas, Enrique and Ana María Jarquín Pacheco (1998) Materiales arqueológicas del noroeste de Tlaxcala. Instituto Nacional de Antrpología e Historia, Mexico City).

Until more examples are reported and studied, it is not possible to say if all of these pots were traded from a single center of production of whether this was a style more widely distributed with separate local production centers.

The other examples here are drawings from García Payón's article on ceramics from the Toluca Valley

García Payón, José
 1941 La cerámica del Valle de Toluca. Revista Mexicana de Estudios Antropológicos 5(2-3):209-238.

I would appreciate input from anyone with any insights or suggestions on this style of decoration. Is it most likely Postclassic or Colonial in date? I am leaning toward the former possibility, but right now that is only a hypothesis.

Bibliography on Techialoyan Codices:

Harvey, Herbert R.
 1986 Techialoyan Codices: Seventeenth Century Indian Land Titles in Central Mexico. In Ethnohistory, edited by Ronald Spores, pp. 153-164. Handbook of Middle American Indians, Supplement. Vol. 4. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Noguez, Xavier
 1999 Códice Techialoyan de San Pedro Tototepec (Estado de México). El Colegio Mexiquense, Toluca.

 1999 Los códices del grupo Techialoyan. Arqueología Mexicana 7(38):38-43.

Noguez, Xavier and Rosaura Hernández Rodríguez
 1992 Códice Techialoyan García Granados. El Colegio Mexiquense, Toluca.

Robertson, Donale
 1975 Techialoyan Manuscripts and Paintings, With a Catalog. In Guide to Ethnohistorical Sources, part 3, edited by Howard F. Cline, pp. 253-280. Handbook of Middle American Indians. Vol. 14. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Wood, Stephanie
 1989 Don Diego García de Mendoza Moctezuma: A Techialoyan Mastermind? Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl 19:245-268.

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

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© 2002, Michael E. Smith (revised 4/10/02)