Sicilian Heads

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A client recently asked us if we could help her downscale by selling her collection of Sicilian ceramic busts (known in Italy as Graste or Teste di Moro). Having spent two weeks in Palermo in 2019, I am a proud, card-carrying fan of the enormous Italian island that is part Italian, part African and part just-about-everything-else. Sicily is a massive melting pot of cultures which reminds me a lot of South Africa, and I think it’s worth visiting as a South African: there are lessons to be learnt. 

Like most narratives around ceramics, these painted-terracttoa icons of Sicily have a sad origin tale. You are welcome to Google it, but essentially the tale is of an Arab gentleman who falls in love with a beauty from Palermo. They fall in love, but she finds out that he has a family back home and so she kills him in a fit of jealousy. She then uses his head as a pot plant for her basil plants and faithfully waters it with her tears. The culinary herb flourish and its not long until other villagers decide they too want head-like pot plants. Luckily for the male population of Palermo, they begin to commission them made from artists made from ceramic. These hand-made vessels are usually sold in pairs, but in this collection we have some singletons mixed amongst the happy couples. I think that they are highly decorative and would add a riot of colour and a splash of festive spirit to any table – be it inside or out. They are waterproof after all. 

Teste di Moro I

Glazed Ceramic 

50cm high approx.

R8 400

*kindly note that this vase has been restored. If you’d like to see detailed photographs, please do ask.

Teste di Moro II

Glazed Ceramic 

40cm high approx.

R5 200

*kindly note that this vase has been restored. If you’d like to see detailed photographs, please do ask.

Teste di Moro III

Glazed Ceramic 

40cm high approx.

R6 400

Teste di Moro IV (sold) & V

Glazed Ceramic 

30cm high approx.

R4 200 each

Teste di Moro VI (sold) & VII

Glazed Ceramic Dish

23cm high approx.

R3 200 each

Teste di Moro VIII & IX

Glazed Ceramic 

20cm high approx.

R2 800 each

For all sales and inquiries,

please contact Chandler House:

info@chandlerhouse.co.za
+27 83 271 0029

 

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or visit us at Chandler House, 134 Church Street, Bo-Kaap

 

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Past Exhibitions at The Voorkamer Gallery

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