A putia du zzu Alfiu
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Description by the artist
A putia du zzu Alfiu sicilian for “uncle Alfio’s tavern” was inspired by the shape of an ancient form of a bottle used in ancient times by farmers and later on the tables of Sicilian aristocrats as a container for fine wine. The vase with a spout shaped handle and decorated entirely by hand with the Moor’s head as the main subject. The shape of the vase was made entirely on a lathe and then fired. After that it has been ceramised and decorated and fired again.
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The artwork in the Sicilian culture
The Moor’s Heads are a classic representation of artistic Sicily. The Moors bring us back to the Arab domination in Sicily (IX-XI century). The Muslim period lasted almost two centuries but it is the one that has left the biggest imprint, probably, in the rich history of Sicily. Not so much in the monuments (very few) but in the daily life, in the etymology of many words, in the dialect, in the uses and customs. Moors are typical figures which come into play very often in Sicilian culture as for example in the Opera the Puppets or in the legend of the Moor’s heads. They tell of a legend in which a beautiful Sicilian fell in love with an Arab at the time that they reigned in Sicily (IX-XI century), being betrayed by the Moor, she beheaded him in his sleep and hung his head, as if it were a vase, on the balcony, also adorning it with a fragrant basil plant that aroused the admiration of unsuspecting bystanders. In a certain sense, the Arabs have never left Sicily.
(photo) Dancing the tarantella in a Sicilian tavern