Small Hispano-Moresque Plate

Spain (Manises), late 15th century
Earthenware tin glazed in blue and copper lustre, diameter 17 cm
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1378

1001 Nights in Granada

As beautiful as in paradise

Our plate dates from the culture of the Moors who ruled large swathes of the Iberian peninsula and North Africa for several centuries. The Moorish emirate during the Nasrid dynasty is famous for its artistic and architectural masterpieces. Members of the ruling dynasty included Mohammed V (1338–1391) who had the so-called Courtyard of the Lions, with its surrounding gallery supported on columns, erected in the fortress palace, the Alhambra, in Granada. Under this emir Granada advanced into a centre of Islamic culture in western Europe.

Middleages

In the Mediterranean

Majolica is an island

For the Spanish, the island was known as Mallorca, but the Italians called it Majolica in the Middle Ages. And this is the word used in Italy to describe the hugely popular Moorish ceramics, finished with a lustre glaze, that were exported from Spain via Mallorca. When the Italians learnt how to master the tin-glazing technique and underglaze painting applied on top of this, the name of these exported articles was transferred to their own product.