Testa di moro: the legend of an ancient art

Testa di Moro (Moor head) is a characteristic object of Sicilian tradition. It is a hand-painted ceramic vase used as an ornament that depicts the face of a Moor and sometimes of a young beautiful woman. According to an ancient legend, around 1100, during the period of Saracen domination in Sicily, in Kalsa district of Palermo, lived a beautiful girl with pink skin, like the colour of peach flowers in full blossoming, and her eyes that seemed to reflect the beautiful Gulf of Palermo. The girl stayed always at home, spending her days taking care of the plants of her balcony. One day a young Moor was passing near her house.  As soon as he saw her, he immediately fell in love and decided to have her at all costs. Then immediately he went into the house of the girl and declared his love. The girl returned the love of the young Moor, but soon her happiness vanished when she learned that her beloved would soon left to return to the East, where he has a wife with two sons. So the girl waited the night and when he  fell asleep she killed him and then cut off his head. She used the head of the Moor to make a pot where she planted basil, and then put it outside in the balcony. The Moor, in this way, would have stayed forever with her. Meanwhile the basil grew very well, for this reason all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood envied her. So, to be nothing less than her,  they ordered some pots made with clay, in the shape of Moor head.

Even today in the Sicilian balconies you can admire the Moor heads often also called “Turkish heads” of fine workmanship. You can appreciate the art of hand painted ceramic in the art of the Master Nicolò Giuliano in Palermo. You can choose one of the best Villas in Palermo from our catalogue. Browse it and choose the best solution for your stay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *