Maker: Attributed to Damián Hernández (Mexican, active 1607–70)
Geography: Made in Puebla, Mexico
Medium: Tin-glazed earthenware
Dimensions: H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); Diam. 20 1/4 in. (51.4 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Robert W. de Forest, 1911
Accession Number: 11.87.3
The raised pattern of dark blue dots called aborronado, created by the thick application of cobalt oxide, was one of the longest lived decorative techniques applied to Mexican maiolica; it derived, like the shape of the basin itself, from Muslim Spain. In its earliest forms, the dotted pattern was used to fill in figures (such as the woman in seventeenth-century dress on this object) and backgrounds alike, demonstrating the horror vacui (fear of emptiness) that marked much Spanish and colonial design. The underside of the basin is decorated with the same flowing arabesque motifs found on Hispano-Moresque lusterware.
The Spanish-born Hernández was one of the founders of the Pueblan potters' guild; he came to New Spain as a youth and trained there under another Spaniard, Antonio de Vega y Cordova. Several vessels in the collections of the Metropolitan and other museums bear the inscription that is thought to be his signature.