There is one antique Sicilian legend which plays the role of a warning to Sicilian men. This story from the island’s folklore has also created one object which is a traditional and characteristic symbol of the Island. And which is this object? What does the legend narrate?
It takes us back to the period of the Moorish domination on the Island of Sicily, more precisely around 1100. There lived one extremely beautiful Sicilian girl in the district of Kalsa di Palermo. She was an absolute beauty with pink skin compared to the blossom of a peach when flourishing. Her eyes represented and reflected the beautiful Golf of Palermo.
The maiden stayed at home almost always spending her days growing flowers on her terrace. One day a Moorish lad passed by her district. Immediately after he saw her on her balcony, he fell in love with her and decided to possess her at all costs. Consequently, without any delay he declared his love for her. In t return, the maiden reciprocated his love immediately. But their happiness didn’t last for long and it faded away when it turned out that the Moor would leave her in order to come back to the Orient where his wife and two children had been waiting for him.
The young girl waited for the night to come and as soon as the Moor fell asleep, she killed him and cut his head. She made a vase from his head in which she grew basil and put it on display on her terrace. That way the lad would never leave her and he would stay with her forever and ever. Meanwhile, the basil flourished in the vase and increased the envy of the other residents and they started creating special earthenware vases in the form of the Moor’s Head. Thus this type of vases turned into one of the symbols of Sicily.
Nowadays they can be seen on the balconies of the Sicilians almost everywhere on the island. Most of these ceramic vases are in the form of the Moor’s Head (or also the Turk’s Head) but one can also stumble upon vases representing a beautiful face of a woman. No matter what the form is, this vase is like a warning to all Sicilian husbands – they must never betray their Sicilian wives. 🙂