The Fantastic Tradition Of Ceramic Artistry In Manises

The fantastic tradition of ceramic artistry tile work in manises center valencia

If you appreciate ceramic art, you’re in for a treat in Valencia. Just a short metro ride away from the city and close to its namesake airport, you’ll find the city of Manises, a municipality that is still famous for amazing ceramic artistry that has been an ongoing tradition for generations.

Fantastic Tradition Of Ceramic Artistry in Manises

wall ceramic art depiction of birds at pond
One of the many lovely pieces in the museum. One can only imagine the hours it took to paint all by hand.

Ceramic Art History In Valencia:

Dating as far back to the Renaissance era and Middle Ages, Manises was the supreme place for the production of what was then known as Hispano-Moresque ware. This was a style of pottery that had been created in the Andalusia region of Spain under Moorish rule that began in 711. 

The production of ceramics continued even after the Christians came into power and then newer works reflected both Christian and Muslim elements. The signature color of the art was deep blue.

One of the many houses in the center with art work along the outside, even on mailboxes.

Migration Of The Masters:

Eventually, much of the production moved from the Malaga area of Andalusia to the Manises area by the 15th century. The artistry was considered the best in Europe at that time due to the combination of elaborate and intricate artwork found on the pieces.

It is assumed that the local lords of Manises had encouraged the exodus of masters of ceramic art from Andalusia to the Valencia areas of Manises and Paterna. The fact that the area had a cave, the right clay, and water from the Turia river certainly helped.

Blue vase at the museum of ceramics, the fantastic tradition of ceramic artistry in Manises Valencia.
Check out the signature blue colour on this vase.

Ceramic trading was a profitable endeavor for the city of Valencia, and trading of ceramics was done with far off places such as Italy and Turkey. Ships would set off from the port of Valencia, and of course, taxes had to be paid to the local authorities.

It is somehow ironic that it was the Italians who eventually took much of the business away from Valencia, after developing and producing their version of ceramic art known as Italian style maiolica pottery and which went on to gain worldwide popularity.

ceramic art in manises park bech with artwork of flowers and blue sash
The benches, the houses, the street names. Lots of handmade tiles of beauty.

Present Day Manises: The Fantastic Tradition Of Ceramic Artistry Continues

Manises today is still producing gorgeous pieces by ceramic artisans who learned the trade from past masters. Since 1917, when the School of Ceramics was officially founded, the studies continue in the form of not just ceramic artistry, tiles, and porcelain.

Quite a lot of the houses in the old center of the city are adorned with colorful tiles and really stunning vases, enduring works of art have lasted for eons and will continue to do so for years to come. I highly recommend wandering through the old town and feasting your eyes on some of the beauty.

fantastic tradition of ceramic artistry in manises: wall of kitchen with woman and man roasting a pig on embers and meat hanging
Wall of ceramic art in the museum. This was the former kitchen on the casa.

Museum of Ceramics Manises

This was a gigantic piece on the floor. We observed restoration going on by young artisans.

Your trip to Manises should most definitely include a stop at the Museum of Ceramics (MCM). The MCM is housed in an 18th-century building called the Casa Ferraro and was opened in 1967. There are over 5,000 pieces of ceramic art dating back to the 14th century.

The city of Manises is still partly an industrial area even as more everyday people have moved into the city and has plenty of production factories still in operation. It is possible to purchase directly from the family owned and run places.

Some of the companies offer ceramic art workshops and you can arrange to watch production as a group if you coordinate with the tourism office located a short distance from the metro stop. Tours are offered in English if desired. A visit to Manises is highly recommended. Much like visiting the museum of modern art, you’re bound to like it.

fantastic tradition of ceramic artistry in manises: display of pottery for sale
The prices were very reasonable too as you can see.

How to get to Manises:

The Manises stop is right on the Metro line 3 that goes towards the airport and is the fastest and cheapest way.

Fernanbús Bus line 150 (yellow bus) will also get you there from Valencia.

A taxi will run you about €15 ($17-18) from the center of Valencia.

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