If you’ve ever been to Sicily, you have surely noticed peculiar vases shaped as human heads. These special vases are called Testa di Moro – Moor’s head – and are a typical Sicilian product made of pottery.
But what are the origins of the Sicilian Moor’s head? Well, there’s a creepy legend about it. Let’s see it.
The origins of the Moor’s head
The legend tells the story of a young woman who lived in Sicily around the year 1090, during the Arab domination.
We don’t know the name of this young woman but we know that she was very beautiful and that she spent the majority of her days taking care of her plants on the balcony.
One day, a young Moor boy was passing by her house and noticed her. Enchanted by her beauty, he decided to knock at her door.
When she opened the door, the Moor told her that he had fallen in love with her as soon as he has seen her.
The woman, struck by the Moor’s charm, told him that she returned his feelings.
That day they began a relationship. However, the relationship didn’t last long. Indeed, one day, the Moor told her that their relationship was over, since he would soon leave to go back home. Since she didn’t want to lose him, she asked him to stay but he told her that it was impossible because he had to go back to his wife and children.
Wife? Children? She didn’t know he had a family! Shocked and hurt by the information, she played along, while in her mind she was picturing her revenge.
She waited for the night to come to put his plan into action. After the Moor fell asleep, she killed him and then cut off his head.
She disposed of the body and then decided to use the Moor’s head as a vase. She planted some basil and put it on the balcony of her house.
The basil grew so well that her neighbors were envious of it. Because the only difference between their basil and her basil was the vase, they started to commission pottery’s vases shaped as the Moor’s head.
From then on the Moor’s head became more and more famous.
Today one of the most famous cities for Moor’s heads is Caltagirone. There you can find incredibly beautiful vases to buy to put on your own balcony.
Do you like Sicilian Moor’s head? Do you have one?
Original image by ulleo