Let's have a walk around Sicily
The Moor’s heads
Text by Sara Favarò and Giovanni Vallone
Sicilian pottery are full of these teste di moro, literally: Moor’s heads.
These faces, with their intriguing looks and always in pairs, a male and a female, are loved by collectors all over the world.
There is no Sicilian house that does not host the teste di moro: in the living room, on the balcony, in the garden.
But where do these mysterious faces come from, which are one of the greatest symbols of Sicilian art?
“Today I will tell you the story of the teste di moro. It was the year one thousand and the Arabs ruled in Sicily. At that time a beautiful Sicilian lived in Palermo, whom we will call Rosalia, who was watering the plants on the balcony of her house when suddenly a beautiful young man passed by. He was dark – haired, a wonderful Muslim like this one that I hold in my hands and that we will call Ibrahim. Rosalia and Ibrahim stood looking at each other for quite a few minutes and it was immediately love. They lived happily ever after when one day he told her “My love I have to go back to my homeland for personal business but I will be back soon”. This thing to the beautiful Sicilian did not feel right and so she went around asking about him.. And, what a great pain, she discovered that the handsome dark-haired man was already married and was about to return permanently to his homeland.
That evening Rosalia forced herself not to betray any emotion and when they went to bed, in the middle of the night… whack! she cut off Ibrahim’s head
The next day the neighbor saw a beautiful vase with a fragrant basil in the balcony of the beautiful Sicilian and said to her: “What a beautiful vase, how I wish I had one! But how is it made? It really seems real!
“It is made of ceramic. My love gave it to me before leaving. He gave me this vase, which looks so much like him, so that I won’t forget him, ”she replied.
And from that day on, the neighbors and then the neighbors of the neighbors and gradually throughout Sicily, put the teste di moro on their balconies and in order not to leave the handsome Moor alone, they mated a beautiful Sicilian.
And so Rosalia and Ibrahim live together for eternity ”