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Sicilian Ceramic Heads

Discover the legend behind the colorful Sicilian Moorish Heads and explore a selection of these stunning vases made in ceramics and reinterpreted by talented artisans, designers and artists.

Sicily is famous for its ceramic production, defined by the peculiar and beautiful Maiolica design with baroque details. During the Moors domination, Sicilians learnt how to master the unique art of pottery to create splendid objects of art, among which the most popular and charming are the Moorish Heads, or Teste di Moro: colorful vases originally used as plant pots.

The interesting legend behind the origin of this stunning piece, which often decorates the balconies of many Sicilian palace, dates back to the XI century.

The story tells about a beautiful girl, who was living in the arabic district of the city of Palermo. While she was taking care of plants and flowers in the balcony of her house, a Moor merchant, who was passing by, fell in love with her at first sight. The beautiful girl returned his love, but shortly after she discovered that the man was about to leave her to return to his native land, where he had wife and children. Driven by jealousy, the girl found a way to keep the man with her forever: she cut off his head, deciding to use it as a vase to grow her plants. Later on, people walking down her balcony noticed how flourishing were her plants and started to create colorful heads vases.

Today, Moorish heads still amaze many artists and designers, who now reinterpret the iconic vase with new shapes, colors and patterns.

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