Spain, Valencia (Manises), mid-century. XV, maiolica painted in blue and lustre


The famous “flowers and leaves of bryony” decoration is typical of Hispanic-Moorish production in Manises (a suburb of Valencia). The minute plant elements are traced in blue, interspersed, as in a precious embroidery, with ears of corn in gold lustre. The Valencian ceramists derived the lustre technique directly from the Muslim craftsmen of the city. The name of this vessel, i.e. albarello, may derive from the Arabic “al barniyya” (terracotta vase), evoking the cylindrical shape of oriental containers made from sections of bamboo canes. Generally these containers contained medicines or spices.

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