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REPRODUCTIONS · Arista tiles · Seville 16th century

Polychromatic architecture.

Arista tiles: a never ending source of inspiration.

 

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The so-called arista or press-moulded tiles, made by pressing clay against carven wooden or bronze moulds, inherited the Islamic love for geometry, but they also took on rich figurative compositions inspired by fabrics during the Gothic and Renaissance periods.

These tiles are a fine example of the important Spanish technical contribution to the history of ceramics known as cuenca, arista or labores, in which the lines that separate color sections are raised, reflecting the impression of wood or fired biscuit moulds on damp clay.

Arista tiles served to fill early Renaissance 16th-century Andalusian architecture with color during the reigns of the Catholic Monarchs and the Emperor Charles V. 

Arista first appeared in Spain ca. 1475 and swept Seville in the early 16th c, permitting production on an industrial scale. It permitted extensive tile use at home and export abroad - indeed arista has much to do with Seville´s enduring fame as a Spanish ceramic center. 

Walls were protected and decorated with them to form panels resembling vertical or horizontal carpets.

The conventional structure was transformed by tiles of different motifs, sizes and shapes, depending on their placement.

Each individual motif had an independent aesthetic value, which was enhanced when multiplied, forming extensive patterns of a size necessary to cover walls or ceilings. Numerous motifs shared the same space, turning variety into an added feature.

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Tiles similar to these ones were used in a number of early 16th century Spanish private palaces, monasteries and convents that survive to this day. 

The Reales Alcázares and Casa de Pilatos in Seville are famous for its spectacular walls and stairway lined with large panels of Sevillian tiles.

While the taste for tiled walls in Spain dates from the medieval Muslim period ( witness the Alcázares of Seville or the Alhambra of Granada with their celebrated hand-cut mosaic tile panels ), in the early 16th century a new method enabled potters to turn out multicolored tiles in quantity.

The ceramics we make as reproductions are hand-painted, taking care with the colour and finish thus obtaining an antique look.

Our artists specialise in the recovery and use of old, traditional methods and have an extensive historical and artistic archive.

 

 

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Some motifs were formed with a single tile and others with four tiles.

Some motifs were formed with a single tile and others with four tiles.

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