Al-Ándalus and Mudéjar Ceramics
Al Andalus was the westernmost Islamic province. From the 8th to the 15th century the Arabs governed a large part of the Iberian Peninsula and introduced their language and customs, music and poetry, irrigation systems and the study of geography. Arabic craftsmen introduced techniques for waterproofing ceramics and for decoration with wooden stamps, cuerda seca or dry cord, metal oxides and golden lustres.
Andalusian potters, who came originally from Syria, Persia and Egypt, designed tableware, ornamental jars and architectural features, including well curbs for the courtyards of houses. From the Iberian Peninsula, these techniques spread all over Europe.
Almost all the potters who worked for Christian customers were Mudejars. For the decoration of ceramics they used painted, incised or stamped motifs of both Islamic and Christian origin.
Features of Mudejar decoration include: profuse ornamentation – horror vacui – a radial ornamental structure, concentric bands and the axis of symmetry.
Especially noteworthy are the Seville alicatados, tiles for covering walls and floors made with aliceres (small pieces of polychrome pottery joined to form ornamental compositions).