Introduction to Tiles

One of the most interesting characteristics of the Monte Palace Madeira is the existence of a large collection of tile panels placed along the walkways and amongst the vegetation acquired by José Berardo, under the specialist direction of Manuel Leitão.

This collection, considered to be one of the most important in the country after that of the National Tile Museum, is made up of Hispano-Moorish tiles of the 15th and 16th centuries and panels produced in Portugal from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

The examples on exhibition are representative of the decorations used in the various eras, originating from palaces, churches, chapels and residences in various localities in Portugal and they depict social, cultural and religious events, remarkable at they’re time, and important to Portuguese History.

The term “azulejaria” is used to define a branch of ceramics with decorative themes, its products being used to cover the surfaces of walls and floors, among others.

The word “azulejo” derives from the Arabic al-zuleycha which means “small stone” and defines a ceramic piece which is square in shape and glazed on one side. This is a legacy from the Islamic culture, where ceramic slabs were used to cover the outside of mosques, left to the Iberian people after the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula.