The Sicilian Moorish Head is a unique decor piece. These amazing works of art hail from the sunny Italian isle of the Mediterranean – Sicily.
An island of legend and lore. Its artistic and gastronomic creations have conquered the world and gives us these marvelous ceramic statues.
The very best statues are made using the centuries old glazing techniques from the city of Caltagirone. Caltagirone found in the south-eastern area of Sicily, is a zone famous for its ceramic works. The manufacturing process is still mostly done by hand and utilizes the Majolica decoration style of painting.
This artistic style was brought to Italy during 7th Century A.D by the Arabs. The style would go on to find great diffusion throughout the entire Italian peninsula, originating from Sicily. The Sicilian Moorish heads are born from folklore and mythology.
The most famous tale perhaps being this:
‘One day, a beautiful and honorable young girl living in the Kalsa, the arabic district of Palermo, was taking care of plants and flowers in the balcony of her house as she was used to. Suddenly, a Moor merchant who was passing by, fell in love with the beautiful girl who immediately returned his love.
They started having a love story until when she discovered he already had a wife and children waiting for him in his native land. She went suddenly crazy of jealousy and one night, while he was sleeping she thought of a way to make him stay with her forever!
She therefore cut off his head and cleverly decided to use it as a vase to grow her beautiful basil plant.
People walking down her balcony started looking at her flourishing plant of basil and became jealous of how bloomed her plants were, so they began to forge colourful clay heads pots wishing to have the same magic green thumb.
Today there are several varieties of ceramic heads, but the traditional ones show a black man and a beautiful girl.‘ ExperienceTaormina
They are usually bought in pairs representing the protagonists of the story.
What is truly captivating is the artistic freedom which has been liberally applied to these heads.
You don’t need to necessarily buy the most richly decorated ones. You can choose sober, minimalistic designs which are truly exquisite with just lashings of accent colors.
These objects of design also have a functional aspect if you so wish. They can be used as vases, bookends etc. Personally I’m in love with the larger size minimalistic pieces which make a statement on side or end tables or even buffets.
Imagine the contrast of a solid colored vase with an ornate floral arrangement of a hue that compliments or even strikingly contradicts the tones in the vase.
These vases can be purchased online directly from some manufactures or from some decor stores.If you love these creations you must absolutely visit Sicily and the town of Caltagirone where you’ll also be able to see the artisans creating these pieces.
Have you been to Sicily or the city of Caltagirone?