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The official opening of this website, which you are honouring with your visit, took place on the 3rd of March 2007, the feast of “Invención de la Santa Cruz”. The project started in Andalucia, a vast region in Southern Spain, melting pot of millenarian cultures endowed with a rich artistic heritage, extrovert people, and a sensitive and generous soul. Most of the religious expressions in Andalucia are channeled through pious brotherhoods, the so-called “hermandades” or “cofradias”, which worship images of Jesus Christ in his Passion and Death, and also of the different mysteries of the Virgin Mary. Those images, as well as others of saints devoted by the people, are paraded in procession during Easter and other special days.

The ceramic altarpiece is a sort of “public altar” containing a religious image and displayed in the street. They can be found in many cities and villages, in religious buildings (churches, monasteries, and brotherhood houses), civic or military premises, or in private properties (either in the facades or in the interior). Its main components are flat painted tiles arrayed in mosaics, together with modeled and glazed pieces that provide relief and an impressive appearance. Their purpose is to evoke the displayed image, to regard as sacred a particular public or private spot, or to invoke protection from a patron saint.

This website tries, based upon the love to the brotherhoods and the ceramic art, to catalogue as broadly as possible the ceramic altarpieces that, either displayed by brotherhoods, other institutions, or private individuals, mark our cities evoking events from the Passion, “letificas”, or the lives of the saints. We hope to spread and popularize this art, in an altruistic but passionate way, to the glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Saints.

Our vocation goes beyond the limits of Andalucia, whose main production centre of ceramic art since the XVI century has been Sevilla, in particular the Triana district, besides the river Guadalquivir. The site is open for ceramic altarpieces and ceramicists from anywhere in Spain or abroad. Spain has been, and still is, a cradle of great ceramicists, spread across the country. Talavera de la Reina and Puente del Arzobispo (Toledo), Valencia and the neighbouring Manises, Onda and Alcora (Castellon), Cataluña, Galicia and many other locations, as well as Portugal, The Netherlands and Italy, have an opportunity in this site to show their ceramic altarpieces.

The Seville-born scholar José Gestoso y Pérez (1852-1917) was the first person to coin the term “ceramophile” to refer to all those fascinated by the ceramic art, the history of the glazed pottery, the authors, and the contemplation of unique, unrepeatable handcrafted pieces, resulting from the effect of fire upon vitrifiable glaze. Thus, all those visiting this site and experiencing these rewarding feelings can and must regard themselves as “ceramophiles”, and, may, depending on their capabilities, do their bit to spread this art so bond to the origins of mankind.

The goal of this site is to become an encyclopedia or a virtual museum of the ceramic altarpieces dispersed across the world, open to the cooperation of any visitor. The site will be daily enlarged with the pictures received, rigorously documented with all the artistic and historic information available, as detailed in the link “Colaborar”. This is the only possible way of compiling and discovering, without moving from our homes, the rich ceramic heritage produced since the XVI century to date.

Due to the own features of the website, all the information displayed in it is in constant process of update and completion. A growing team of contributors from different parts of the world provides text and visual material, bibliographical reviews, and carries out field studies guaranteeing that the contents of the site have the outstanding level of quality and reliability deserved by our visitors.

This site has been created and designed in May 2007 by its administrator, Antonio Entrena Aznarte, from Granada (Andalucia, España), and is supported by the contributions of the historic and artistic advisor Martin Carlos Palomo Garcia, from Sevilla (Andalucia, España). It is forbidden the reproduction, total or in part, of the content displayed in this site without the explicit approval of the administrator.
Our patron saints

Saint Justa and Saint Rufina, Christian martyrs that worked as potters during the Roman domination and patron saints of the ceramicists, are also regarded as patrons of this site.

Legend of the martyrdom of Saint Justa and Saint Rufina.

In time of the Romans, and later with the Muslims, the work of potters was particularly important in Sevilla. In the area currently known as Triana, by the western bank of the Guadalquivir, there were two young girls, Justa and Rufina, which worked as potters.
It was the month of July 287 AD, when the worshippers of the Syrian gods, which were many in Spain, celebrated the “Adonias”. As in other occasions during market days, Justa and Rufina displayed their pots. The forum began to liven up; the girls chatted and laughed while working. Suddenly a noisy mob of slovenly women burst in the square, singing and dancing around one image of Adonis carried on their shoulders.
At dawn they took from the temple an idol of Salambo (Aphrodite crying Adonis), and paraded it by the street collecting donations for their cult. The picturesque cortege stopped by the two girls, who are asked for a pot to plant an “Adonis garden”. The girls replied angry that, like Saint Paul, they did not worship hand-made gods. Such answer inflamed the worshippers, and an first an argument and then a fight took place. The police turned up, and the two girls were arrested and taken to court. That was the first act of their martyrdom.
According to tradition and hagiography, Justa died in jail, and Rufina was tormented in the amphitheatre, after being thrown to the lions. A day of the hot Sevillian summer, July 19, is dedicated in remembrance of these girls not only in Sevilla but in many other parts of Spain (“La Cerámica”, Rafael Domenech, Sevilla, 1981, pp 15-17).

Legal notice / Disclaimer

The only purpose of this website is to show information about religious ceramic altarpieces, in an altruistic and non-profit way.
The contents of this website (including, without limitation, texts, images, and any other audiovisual content), is, otherwise expressly stated, property of their respective authors.
Access at a given moment, accuracy, suitability or usefulness for a specific purpose, or any other characteristic of the information and contents included in this website, or those accessible through the links displayed on it, is not guaranteed in any way.
Therefore, does not assume any liability derived from the utilization of the information and contents of the website by its users, or the application of the contents as a foundation of any research, report or document whatsoever.
It is completely forbidden to carry out, without the previous approval of the administrators of the site, any change of its contents. Thus the site does not assume any liability derived from unauthorized manipulation of the site.
The user of this website, by accessing it, is bound to use the site in total compliance with the existing legislation, and will be liable for any damages resulting from failing to comply with this obligation.

Traducción de Ignacio Hidalgo González.


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