This week, while we celebrate the Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities on June 10th, we will talk about tiles, ceramics and mosaics, typical Portuguese items.
Who come in Portugal and don’t fall in love with the blue and white tiles (azulejos) that cover great number of churches, convents, palaces and universities? These are also visible in former Portuguese colonies. The word ”azulejos” comes from the Arabic "al zuleija", which means small polished stone. This habit of covering the walls goes back to the period when this territory was ruled by the Moors and blue was not the only color. There was a wide variety of colors and styles (mudéjar, “dry rope”, majolica, etc.), the fashion of blue and white only having been successful in the 18th century.
When you'll next come to Lisbon, don't skip the Tile Museum to learn more about the history of this material, and we can also lead you to visit a tile factory in Azeitão, on the way to Alentejo!
Tiles and ceramics are very different things, but they do have in common their main material: clay. One is a plane plate, painted and baked; the other is worked on the wheel or directly molded with the hands, painted and baked. If you would like to go visit Monsaraz, we could stop by the little town of S. Pedro do Corval, where you'll see dozens of shops that make ceramic pieces with clay on the wheel. Some offer workshops! Just check our program.
And if you want to learn more, and realize great decoration objects, ask our friend Carolina Andrade, who makes online ceramic workshops.
But now if I tell you about the hydraulic mosaic, which was born in Catalonia at the end of the XIX century, passed through France and then arrived in Portugal, particularly in the Alentejo, we are talking about another mateiral and another technique: a type of handmade coating made with cement and natural pigments, which dries on the open. If you want to know more about it, just ask and we'll be delighted to tour you around some local artists.
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