| Introduction | Who We Are | Organization | The Ceramics | The Portuguese Tiling |

     The Portuguese Tiling Importance

Tile is defined as a fine paving-tile colored and is a common word to the Castilian, Portuguese, to the African and Hispanic dialects of Arab origin.

The term tile comes from lapislázuli, semiprecious rock and of zulej, that it means polishing.


The historical case makes that it is in Portugal, small country in the Occidental Extremity, where if it finds the biggest tile number in situ. It is exactly here that the idea of the aesthetic linking between architecture and tile finds its more fertile land. In none another country the tiling decoration reached such ratio and formal wealth, becoming the tile the marking element of last the five centuries of the national panorama artistic, being still today almost unthinking that architects, city planning or decorators do without it.

For the Portuguese historiography, the event that awake the interest for the tile was the trip of king D. Manuel I in 1498 to Spain. And only the desire of the king to decorate his palace of Sintra was decisive for the Portuguese tiling, that started to coat surfaces parietals of palaces, churches and convents, where still meets in considerable amounts. 

In century XVIII the Portuguese tile entered in full evolution, decorative renewal and allied to the passage of the polychromic of national tradition for blue and white.

The producing National Center of this tile species was Coimbra, leaving of its workshops the Patrimony tiles of the Santo Agostinho College. The subjects are, in general, inhaled in engravings of character pictorial and religious or bucolical subject, forming framed panels that give originality to the competitions, almost theatrics, of its sanefas, wreaths, scrolls, angels and flowers, that characterize the joanina art.

They are famous of Church S. Vicente de Fora, representing episodes of the conquest of Lisbon.