La Testa di Moro
The Moorhead teaches us an important lesson: never cheat on a Sicilian! We explain why.
The Moor’s Head is a characteristic object of Sicilian tradition. This is a hand-painted ceramic vessel used as an ornament depicting the face of a Moor and sometimes a good-looking young woman. Behind this famous object lies an interesting legend.
An ancient legend has it that around the year 1100, during the time of the domination of the Moors in Sicily, in the Kalsa district of Palermo, lived “a beautiful maiden with rosy skin comparable to peach blossoms at the peak of bloom and a beautiful pair of eyes that seemed to reflect the beautiful Gulf of Palermo“.
The girl was almost always at home, and spent her days tending to the plants on her balcony. One day a young Moor happened to be passing by, and as soon as he saw her, he immediately fell in love with her and decided to have her at all costs. So without delay he entered the girl’s house and immediately declared his love for her.
The maiden, struck by so much ardor, returned the young Moor’s love, but soon her happiness vanished as soon as she learned that her beloved would soon leave her to return to the East, where a wife with two children awaited her. So it was that the maiden waited for the night and as soon as the Moor fell asleep she killed him and then cut off his head. Of the Moor’s head he made a pot of it where he planted basil and put it on display outside in the balcony.