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Exhibition: ‘Warriors and Martyrs – Christianity and Islam in the formation of Portugal’

The temporary exhibition ‘Warriors and Martyrs – Christianity and Islam in the formation of Portugal’, curated by Santiago Macias and Joaquim Oliveira Caetano, opened on 19 November at the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon. In the words of its curators, this exhibition aims to evoke ‘the 800th anniversary of the martyrdom of a group of Franciscans: Berard, Otho (priests), Peter (deacon), Accursius and Adjutus (laymen) – the Martyrs of Morocco – who, on 16 January 1220, were killed in Northern Africa.
Against the backdrop of an initial period of assertion and establishment of Portugal as a Nation’, this Exhibition, ‘which includes a number of pieces (goldsmithery, luxury and common ceramics, military items, monetary treasures, painting, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, textiles, ivory pieces and fire art), will allow visitors to discover the experiences of this important period. The project involves more than seventy institutions (museum, libraries, churches and private collections) from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Morocco and the United Kingdom, and is part of the Jubilee Year of the Martyrs of Morocco and Saint Anthony, having as partners the Diocese of Coimbra, the Church of Santa Cruz of Coimbra and the Machado de Castro National Museum.’
As part of its mission of disseminating the collection, be it in the various museum units, or by participating in temporary exhibitions organised in Portugal and abroad, the Mértola Museum lent 42 items for this important Exhibition, which includes ceramics, with an emphasis on ‘corda seca’ decorations and a jug with engravings, pieces of jewellery such as a ring, buckles and other adornments, a casting mould and melting pot, and a number of weaponry elements. The items from the Mértola Museum also include a scale model of the Mértola Mosque, all highlights of the permanent exhibition of the Islamic Art unit, currently closed for renovation works.
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(photos provided by Santiago Macias)

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