Early Spanish Pottery and Ceramic Ware
The art of pottery making that was transmitted to the Spanish Caliphate in Cordova around the 9th and 10th century, and admired by both royalty and the affluent was soon adopted and made by the Spaniards with Granada and Valencia becoming the centre of ceramic ware production.
The Spanish translation of the imported art of pottery showed a great improvement and refinement over the foreign styles, and for the first time in the whole of Europe, ceramic pottery enhancements such as tin glazes was used to create a lustrous ceramic finish.
Best Known Examples of Spanish Earthenware Ceramics
The Hispano-Mauresque is one of the best known examples of Spanish ceramics. With its lustrous finish, these earthenware ceramics are formed as tall amphora-shaped vases and known as Alhambra. Other pieces include large food platters inscribed with the Cost of Arms of Spanish royalty.
Today, the art of ceramic production of Hispano-Mauresque lustre ceramic ware is still carried on based on traditional forms and styles.
Decoration and Finishes
Vases were designed with Arabic inscriptions, arabesques, and in rare cases, some stylish animal forms. They possessed an unusual iridescence and lustre, and by the 14th to the15th century the beauty of Spanish ceramics was bespoke as its production reached its peak.
16th Century Spain Yields Ceramic Prominence to Italy
By the 16th century, Spain lost its pottery prominence to Itallian potters styles, but pottery kilns close to the Toledo region and those in Talavera de la Reina continued to produce beautiful household objects and pretty Spanish ceramic tiles.
The objects were decorated with scenes from their own modern times and lovely figural forms, with colour combinations of blue/white, ochre/blue, or in brown, green, white, and blue.
18th Century Spanish Ceramics
Throughout the 18th century, fine pottery made in Faience, Italy came in form of a glazed biscuit ware and the name faience is now popularly applied to many such decorative ceramic wares.
The Spanish potters soon adopted the style of pieces which were mainly tableware inspired by French art styles, but their features and themes were characteristic of the Spanish.
Spanish wall tiles made in Catalonia were enhanced with themes of Spanish gaiety and paintings of sportsmen, amusements, dancing scenes or artwork showing humorous pictures of bullfights, incidents associated with Don Quixote, or images showing people drinking newly discovered beverages.
And in the churches, ceramic art works was used in forms of decorative tiles that were painted with religious themes and used for altar décor in churches.
Pottery Made For the Spanish Peasants
There were many small scale local potters located in the southern regions of Spain that made pottery exclusively for the peasants. The ceramic wares produced include ornamental bowls, plates and water pitchers. Walls were lavishly decorated with lots of different shapes and sizes of ornamental plates, a common feature that was associated with their interior décor.
Up until the present day, Spanish ceramic water jars still maintain the same designs of the ancient pottery works created over two thousand years ago.
And up to some few years ago, the ceramic wares carried by donkeys in the regional districts contributed tremendously to the beautiful picturesque landscape of countryside Spain, one that distinctly shows an outsider a touch of Spain.
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