Senas: New Spain's Mayolica Maker's Marks

Jorge Alberto Provenzali

          As an assurance of compliance with guilds' manufacturing specifications, makers' marks were a requirement on all types of mayólica manufactured by the members of the potter's guild in New Spain. This thesis presents an analysis of maker's marks as a means to reveal the existence of parallel commercial activities, such as black-market, tax fraud, and contraband. The reality is that the archaeologically recovered mayólica from Spanish Colonial sites has extremely few pieces with maker's marks. Nonetheless, a total of 203 maker's marks were documented (167 of them unique) from literature, museum and archeological collections. Frequency relationships between marks on vessel and sherds, the possible meaning of these proportions are explored and a catalog of the discovered marks is provided.