by D.D. Ceramiche Siciliane
These absolutely stunning Italian Moorish sculptures are hand-painted and created in the typical classical style of the ancient tale of the Sicilian Testa di Moro legend. Each piece is imported from Caltagirone, Sicily in Southern Italy and are completely unique and one-of-a-kind. Beautifully hand-painted and molded with bright coloring featuring incredible ornamental details, these sculptures easily stand alone as wonderful artwork, but can also double as vases to fill with flowers for a whimsical statement.
And yes... these were the style of vases featured on season two of the hit TV show, White Lotus.
The famous legend of these heads dates back to around 900 C.E. in the Southern Italian region.
The Moorish Heads, ornamental hand-painted ceramic vases that depict the face of a man and a woman, are the result of a legend developed over the centuries. Behind the Moorish heads, also known in Sicilian as "Graste", there is a love story born at the time of Arab domination in Sicily, made up of passion, betrayal, jealousy that resulted in revenge. When a woman by the name of Kalsa learned that the Moor she had fallen in love with already had a family, seized with fatal anger, she killed him, cut off his head and created a sort of vase in which she planted a basil sprout inside, considered the herb of kings (from Greek Basilikos). When she put it exposed on the balcony, she gathered the envy of her neighbors, who wasted no time in pealing terracotta vases with the same features of the Moor's Head. Since then Sicilian craftsmanship, especially that of Caltagirone, has never stopped the production of these finely crafted heads.
Another story suggests that the Moor’s head represents the impossible love of a young couple. The girl was Sicilian and of noble origins, while her lover was a young Arab. Once their love affair was discovered, the girl’s family cruelly punished them both by beheading them. Their heads were then used as vases and hung on their balcony as a warning. This is said to be why the ceramic heads were always made in pairs, in memory of the two young lovers who were murdered together.
The Moors were Muslims of Arabian decent who inhabited many places in Europe and North Africa during the years 827-1097 AD. They arrived to Sicily in 827 during the first Muslim Conquest of Sicily, though it wasn’t until 902 that almost the entire island was in the control of the Aghlabids, an Arab dynasty of emirs from the Najdi tribe of Banu Tamim. During this time, Moorish architecture and legends began to make its way around Southern Italy and left lasting impacts on Sicilian and Italian culture.
*This information was directly translated from D.D. Ceramiche Siciliane
- Approximate dimensions: 12" H, 7" Diameter
- Includes cards of authenticity
- We certify that each product has been entirely handmade and that any "small imperfections" are typical of craftsmanship more precious than industrial.
- Handmade ceramic
- Made in Italy