12th Mértola Islamic Festival – 18 to 21 May, 2023
Once again, the collection of the Cláudio Torres – Mértola Museum serves as
inspiration for the image of the Mértola Islamic Festival. It was designed based on an analysis of the Islamic art collection that resulted in the selection of a ceramic bowl decorated with a phytomorphic (vegetalist) motif dating from the 2nd half of the 12th century AD. The motif represents a tree of life formed by three lotus flowers seen in elevation and joined by a stem, surrounded by a frieze of stamped rosettes.
The decorated bowl was found in the Alcáçova (fortress) of the Castle, more specifically during the archaeological excavation carried out in the cryptoporticus. ‘A bowl with a slightly introverted rim and a lip with a triangular section, a semi-spherical belly and flat base with a ring foot. It was fully decorated using the ‘cuerda seca’ technique featuring shades of white, black, turquoise green and honey.
The central motif depicts a branch consisting of three lotus flower bulbs emerging from a central stem. It is surrounded by a stripe with small stars stamped under the green glaze. The walls of the piece feature two lotus flowers alternating with two geometric floral motifs. It can be considered a transitional piece whose elements are strongly rooted in Umayyad iconography (such as the branch with three lotus flower bulbs), combined with stamped motifs under the vitreous cover, a technique typical of the Almohad period” (GÓMEZ MARTINEZ, Susana, Museu de Mértola – Cerâmica em corda seca de Mértola, Mértola, Campo Arqueológico de Mértola, 2002, pg. 62.).
Visit Mértola during the Islamic Festival where you will be able to appreciate this and many other objects of great interest that attest to the historical importance of this Alentejo town.