Updated: Jul 24
This is Valeria Gulotta –Valy for all my friends- it's a plaesure talk and share with you my knowledges aboout my incredible town. Let's talk about the amazing and sad story of one of the most famous pottery vase. Moor head ceramic vases are so widespread in Sicily that they become one of the representative symbols of the island.
These particular objects, decorate the balconies of the houses and are often used as a decorative element in the living rooms of Sicilians and tourists who buy them as souvenirs at the various artisan shops in Caltagirone.
The singular shape of these vases, however, comes from a macabre legend, set in Palermo, which not everybody knows. It is said that around the year 1100 a. C., during the domination of the Muslims in Sicily, also called Moors, in the Arab quarter of Palermo called "Al Hàlisah" (which means the pure or the elect) today known as the Kalsa district; a beautiful girl used to live her solitary days locked in the house taking care of the plants of her balcony, the only way that she was allowed to look the world outside from that house which, despite being rich and majestic, for her, was like a golden prison. One day while she was on the top of her flowery balcony, a young Moor, fell in love with her and did not hesitate to proclaim his love to her. The young girl having never been courted and impressed by the promise of love that the young Moor made, returned her feeling, and allowed him to enter in that majestic house. However, the young Moor, had a wife and children to go back to in the East and when he proved the terrible news to the girl, embittered by that betrayed love that was about to abandon her, she was seized with a fatal anger and a jealousy, which pushed her to look for a way to get back at him. So at the end of the last night spent together, after abandoning himself to the passion, he fell into a deep sleep in her arms, then the girl put into practice her revenge and hit him to death. Furthermore, the face of that young man, whom she had madly loved in that short time, should have remained at her side forever, so she cut off his head creating with it a vase that she placed on the balcony and planted inside a sprout of basil (he chose the basil because, this fragrant plant, from the Greek "Basilikòs", king, represents the herb of the sovereigns).
In this way, taking daily care of the plants of her balcony, the girl continued to take care of her beloved from which she never separated. Every day she watered that basil with her tears, making the plant more and more luxuriant.
The neighbors, looking with envy at the plant that was growing conspicuously giving off an intense smell in that bizarre vase with the shape of a head, asked to have terracotta pots made with the same appearance as the one kept by the girl. For this reason, each Testa di Moro that is produced has a crown aimed at re-proposing the royal plant that originally adorned the head of the young Moor, protagonist of the sad story.
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