Ceramic tiles with a touch of the Orient

Ceramic tiles with a touch of the Orient

The ceramic tiles of the east: the Azujelo tiles in different countries

The ceramic tiles that we associate with the Central European flair today came to Europe from the Arabs. Their history goes back much further into the past there. The name azulejo, which is common in Spain and Portugal, is a derivative of the Arabic “zuleija”. Translated, this name means “little stones”.

The technique of applying the opaque glaze was adopted by the Arabs. Using this technique, a specific white color was created, which made it possible to carry out the complex decorations. The surface of these tiles shows a very pronounced relief. The inequalities form entanglements that make the flow of water practically impossible. A very thin top layer of metal oxide has also been applied. This gave the ceramic tiles a very elegant, shiny surface.

In order to produce such tiles, some strict religious rules were bypassed. In the Arab world it was forbidden to use gold or silver serving dishes.

In the Arabic canon it was also forbidden to depict animals and people alive. For this reason, intricate ornaments and arabesques were depicted.

The arabesques

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The glazed ceramic tiles are probably one of the reasons why the arabesques are so common outside of the Arab world. They represent compositions of stylized plant motifs. Each composition was always evenly and symmetrically distributed on the tile.

Azulejos ceramic tiles in Spain

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At the beginning of the 18th century, Spain was exposed to Arab attacks. Not only danger but great culture came to Europe. At this time the history of ceramic tiles with opaque glazed surfaces and delicate paintings begins on the old continent.

Derived from the Arabic “Zuleija”, this type of tile was called “Azujelo”. The Spaniards started out from Arab technology, but have also further developed their own techniques on this basis.

We have a tradition that combines Arabic technology and European tradition in a unique way.

At the end of the 15th century, the fine Arabic writing on ceramics changed its meaning. It was developed for decoration with a religious and applied character.

New colors

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The Spanish tiles also differed from their Arabic models in terms of color. The Spanish azulejo tiles are mainly dominated by the blue color, while the Arabic tiles are executed in bold decorations.

The development of the Italian technique of azulejo tiles was further developed on this basis in Italy.

The Azulejo ceramic tiles in Portugal

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Ceramic tiles of the azulejos style came to Portugal in the 15th century. Joao II has commissioned the import of models from the Arab countries into his country. It was an expensive pleasure, but it doesn’t seem to have bothered the ruler. Because his fascination for this art was really great.

In the 16th century, decorating facades with this type of ceramic tile became a tradition. Four colors were used at the time: white, yellow, light blue and green.

In the 17th century, white and blue tiles were imported. You come from Holland, and more specifically from the city of Delft. At that time, the colorful ceramic tiles dominated, and the white-blue variation remained behind.

The 18th century can be described as the golden era of azulejo tiles in Portugal. In 1755 there was a very strong earthquake in Lisbon. Most of the city was destroyed. A lot of ceramic tiles were used in the restoration of the city. At that time we started our own production and import from Arab countries was no longer necessary.

The use of these ceramic tiles is still in great demand today

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The arabesques represent compositions of stylized plant motifs

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The Spanish started out from Arab technology

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A modern idea with a touch of the Orient

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A great accent for the kitchen

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In Spain this type of tile was called “Azujelo”

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Ornate and modern bathroom

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Each composition was always evenly and symmetrically distributed on the tile

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The Portuguese tiles were made in four colors

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The Arabic tiles are executed in bold decorations

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The Spanish tiles differed in color

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In Portugal the fascination for this art was really great

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