The Art of Portuguese Tiles

A great joy was visiting Portugal, a few years ago. That visit has stayed with me, in every aspect to this very day. Enoforum Wines, with Delfim Costa, Luis Rui, and Isabel Ramos led me to the alter of Portuguese wine. It happened not just by having me taste and visit wineries, but by immersing me into their culture. From foods, to the Atlantic Coastline, to the inner reaches of the Alentejo wine district and beyond…

No matter where I went, ceramic tiles were present, reminding me that tiles are much more than decorations. They’re part of the culture… tiny images depicting life in such beautiful ways.

Portugal’s wine history is very complex, as having been part of the Roman empire… While they’ve adopted varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, they also have held fast onto what is rightfully theirs… Hundreds of native, wine grape Vitis vinifera varieties that have are indigenous. In these tile images, you’ll see that wine is just a way of life, with depictions that reveal the processes and pleasures.

Azulejos are tiles that are prolific in Lisbon, the Alentejo, the country as a whole… They decorate the outside of homes, are found in towns to mark properties, and are in businesses as simply part of their walls. But it’s not simplicity at all… It’s images depicting life itself.

They’re all unique and prolific, and warm the culture’s being through its abundance of art in ceramic form.

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