Central and southern Mexico was once ruled by a powerful tribe of hunters and gatherers from northern Mexico called the Aztecs in the 15th and early 16th centuries.
Apart from being famous for giving the world the exceptionally accurate Aztec calendar, their contribution to pottery is significant and their craftsmanship much admired world over today.
Pottery, besides being useful to the Aztecs, was considered a religious craft form. The shapes, sizes and designs were all symbolic of the Aztec culture and religion.
In the time of the Aztecs, pottery was owned by every Aztec or Mexica household no matter how poor they were. They used pots for storing water, soaking beans overnight and other household items. The wealthier families also owned several pieces of handmade plates and goblets – all made from the finely-textured clay found in abundance in Mexico.
The reason we have extensive knowledge about Aztec pottery today and the changes it underwent, is due to a peculiar tradition the Aztecs followed of destroying all their household goods every 52 years.
One of the most famous styles of Aztec pottery is what is now known as