Portuguese ceramics and the political message of an empire


Portuguese pottery was largely exported to several parts of the world from late 15th to late 17th century. Its presence is confirmed in archaeological sites but also in written evidence such as port books, probate inventories and other records, travelling with products such as wine, olive oil, sugar, etc.The combination of these two sources permits to conclude that Portuguese ceramics were a recognizable production due to its quality but mostly due to its decoration, colours and shapes. From the lively red of Portuguese cups said to be made in Estremoz or the blue on white Portuguese Faïence these ceramic products are constantly found outside Portugal not only in its colonies but also in trade partners.These were obviously acquired by taste, however the message and symbolism contained in those objects was certainly bigger. Were Chinese inspired motifs communicating the Portuguese presence in a great overseas empire? Why do the Royal Arms of the Portuguese king appear scattered in different parts of the world from Lisbon to Amsterdam and New England from 1640 onwards, year of the Iberian crown separation? Were these ceramics used as an instrument for political advertising?

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Portuguese ceramics and the political message of an empire. Tânia Casimiro, Rosa Varela Gomes, Mário Varela Gomes. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437127)

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PaperId(s): SYM-59,02