Panels of green and white chequered tiles, with a powerful chromatic effect, line the walls of the Sala dos Cisnes (Swans Room), the largest room at the National Palace of Sintra, built by Dom João I in around 1425.
Title: Green and white chequered tiles
Date: 16th century -
Location: Lisbon (?), Portugal
Rights Information: National Palace of Sintra
Photo: Carlos Monteiro, 2010.
Original Title (portuguese): Azulejos verdes e brancos em xadrez
Hispano-Moresque Tiles: The interior walls of the National Palace of Sintra are lined with Europe’s largest set of Mudejar tiles still in place today, most of which originate from Seville, although one should not exclude the (as yet still unconfirmed) possibility that many of the tiles were produced locally with the use of imported labour. Mudejar tiles were brought to Portugal with the arrival of Arab culture in the Iberian Peninsula, incorporating new ceramic techniques and decorative styles. This influence continued even after the Christian reconquest of the territory in the 12th century, later giving rise, in the 15th and 16th centuries, to the appearance of various types of tiles and the use of different techniques that reflected the evolution of decorative styles – alicatado, corda-seca, aresta, esgrafitado (sgraffito) and relevado (relief work). Visitors to the palace can therefore enjoy a unique experience, since they are afforded an overall view of this heritage in Portugal – a specific form of decorative coverings for walls and floors, involving the use of exclusive patterns, such as the motif of the armillary sphere or relief tiles.