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2 December, 2019 History


There is nothing more typically from Granada than Fajalauza. The artisan pottery has been typical of the city of the Alhambra for five centuries, and has its origins in the Mozarab era. For that reason it is so important to value the fact that this craft has made it to our times intact. And, above all, we are working to preserve it. So that this art that so represents this land is not lost, and can be reproduced for many more centuries.

Fajalauza, la cerámica más típica de GranadaAuthor: Lourdes Cardenal

A few weeks ago, the newspaper El Independiente de Granada published an exceptional report headed Fajalauza, five centuries of the most typical Granada pottery. It said that one of the few marks of identity of Granada was in danger. It needed the help of the administration, in order not to lose this legacy.

The name of this craft takes its name from the Puerta de Fajalauza (Fajalauza Gate). Around this spot, in the 19th century, workshops such as that of Cecilio Morales Moreno were created. So that his work was not lost, the nephews of this craftsman, who is now 97, have created a foundation. The aim is to care for and raise awareness about this pottery; the most famous in Granada. And the surname Morales has been linked to this craft since its origins, following the Christian conquest.

Fajalauza, la cerámica más típica de GranadaAuthor: Lourdes Cardenal

Hand-painted pieces used in the construction and decoration of interiors and exteriors. That is Fajalauza, also known as Loza. A pottery whose origins were documented at the start of the 16th century. This popular pottery is made with glazed and decorated clay. The usual colours are blue-grey and green, with plant motifs, although we can also see birds, lattices, and heraldic motifs with double-headed eagles.

The Albaicín wall had six gates, and one of them was the Fajalauza Gate. It was built in the middle of the 14th century by the hajib Ridwan, minister under Yusuf I of Granada. What was the purpose of the gate? To defend the primitive suburb of the Halconeros or Albaicín. This access linked the suburb with the neighbourhood of the Potters. And since 1517 it was the site of the potters’ workshops, which later, in the 19th century, came to be known as Loza de Fajalauza.

Fajalauza, la cerámica más típica de GranadaAuthor: Lourdes Cardenal

The Spanish art historian, researcher and intellectual specialising in the ethnographic field of traditional pottery and historical ceramics, Natacha Seseña, tells of the parallels between the production of Fazalauza in Granada and in Teruel. Apparently these are the two centres on the Iberian Peninsula where the Moorish pottery tradition is best preserved.

Until not so long ago the production of Fajalauza maintained its primitive characteristics. Until 1975 it was made with glaze containing little tin, and decorations in grey-green or grey-blue, using plant motifs, particularly grenadine and heraldic motifs. Soon after, the blue and green tones were adulterated by the use of industrial colourants. Commercial massification has provided this style with a market reaching even as far as Japan.

However, only in the workshop of Cecilio Morales did they continue to work with clay as they had done for five centuries, with no variation in style and shape. Only electricity was introduced as a working system, with filtering and kneading using machines, and shaping using motorised wheels. Firing was then done in electric or gas kilns.

Fajalauza, la cerámica más típica de GranadaAuthor: Lourdes Cardenal

Some of the many forms taken by Fajalauza can be seen in almost every aspect of our lives. It has been used for transporting liquids, decorating our homes with tiles, preserving our food with plates, bowls or cheeseboards, and even for displaying tributes on plaques or showing the names of streets.

An extraordinary curiosity is that the majority of the tiles on the Patio de los Arrayanes were replaced by Fajalauza in the middle of the 20th century. For that reason it is very important that the tradition is not lost, and that the new Cecilio Morales Foundation is preserving true pottery in this style, by creating a school for artisans.

Fajalauza, la cerámica más típica de GranadaAuthor: Lourdes Cardenal

To find out more, you can read this magnificent report published in El Independiente de Granada. From it, together with other pages such as Wikipedia, we have sipped in order to find the information to create this post.

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