Aluzejos de Portugal

Started with Patterns of Monchique and the many photos of tiled house façades, I continued my tile obsession in Lisbon, discovering little alley ways, cobbled roads, visiting the national tile museum and tile makers to understand their history, patterns and process.

So why are so many houses tiled in Portugal?

This question wasn’t directly answered by visiting the national museum of tiles, but luckily wikipedia has a rather excellent article on Aluzejas. The art was introduced to Portugal, via Spain, by the Moors. From the 15th century tiles, similar to intricate carved stone facades or marble works in main land Europe, were an expression of wealth and influence, and became available to a wider audience through mass production in the late 17th and early 18th century – the ‘Golden Age of the Azulejo’, the so-called Cycle of the Masters (Ciclo dos Mestres). This was exactly at the time when Lisbon was reconstructed after the Great Earthquake of 1755. Tiles were used in a more utilitarian role for decoration. This bare and functional style is known as the Pombaline style, named after the Marquis of Pombal, who was put in charge of rebuilding the country. Small devotional azulejo panels on buildings act as protection against future disasters. This makes Lisbon an excellent place to wonder and give the more reason to explore its small alley ways.

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  1. A final [personal] reflection « Sustainable Tourism Monchique - January 3, 2012

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