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  • Writer's pictureKim

Tiles Everywhere!

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

The signature of Lisbon: Azulejos

Everywhere you turn, tiles are everywhere! Introduced to Portugal by Islamic crafters (Moors) in the 13th century, these original decorative tiles were simple geometric shapes in simple color palettes. These types of patterns were seen throughout the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. Here are some 15th century examples, on display in the Lisbon Tile Museum:

Here are some I've seen in my own walks about town:

and these in Sintra:

Age of Discovery, Enlightenment, and Dutch Delft

In the 17th century, artisans began to craft more tiles with animals and plants, like these I saw on Lisbon buildings

and these in Sintra

and these from the tile museum

As the 17th and 18th centuries flourished, the tiles were influenced by French faience and Dutch delft, and became quite elaborate. I saw this on the river promenade:

and these in the Principe Real;

and these on a building in central Lisbon:

and this in Sintra:

and these in the Tile Museum:

Beginning in the 20th century, artists began creating modern tile decorations, such as these I saw walking around town:

and these from the Tile Museum:



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