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Sicilian Moro Heads - How They're Made

The History of the Sicilian Moro Head

The Sicilian ceramic head, or 'Teste di Moro',  is said to be based on the 11th Century legend of a Moorish merchant who while visiting the Arab Quarter of Palermo, fell in love with a beautiful local girl after spotting her tending her plants on her balcony.

Having consumated their relationship, the girl was to discover her amore had a wife and family back at home and in a lover's rage decapitated him whilst he slept.

To disguise his demise she planted a seed of basil in his now severed head and watered it with her tears. The fragrant herb grew prolifically and garnered jealous attention from her neighbours, who in turn had ceramic 'head' vases made in which to grow their own herbs - and so the Sicilian Moro Head legend was born.

Another, less known take on the story is that the Moor's Head actually represent a 'Romeo and Juliet' style love story, where a Sicilian girl of a noble family fell in love with a young Arab merchant. Her family beheaded them both and displayed their heads as vases on their balcony as a warning to those who might bring shame on their family. Hence why the vases are often seen as a male and female pair, in memory of the star-crossed lovers.

traditional Sicilian Ceramic Moro Head Vases

Traditional 'Teste di Moro' Design

Traditional 'Teste di Moro' portray the face of a bearded Arabic man, wearing a turban - alongside a beautiful woman with a crown. Embellished with ornate jewellery, flowers and citrus fruits.

The Anemone Take on the Moorish Head

Taking the traditional silhouette of the Moro Head, the 5 exclusive Anemone designs created by Lia Briamonte are a modern take on the ornate ceramic, with a chic white face adorned with shells, fruits, foliage and, of course: Anemones.

How our Moro Heads are made

buy moro head

Handmade in a traditional workshop in Caltagirone, Italy - the home of authentic Sicilian ceramics. The Moro Head vases take over two hours to mould and 3 days to set before being skillfully hand-painted and glazed.

How to style your Moro Head

Moro Head vases are perfect filled with seasonal blooms and are fully glazed to hold water. Use a florist's oasis at the bottom to hold taller stems in place for dramatic height, or create a 'crown' of flowers with shorter stems.



We also have an Anemone x Matthew Williamson Moro Lamp, designed by Matthew the pure white head is adorned with hibiscus flowers and can be sold with a hand-painted shade.