Among the towns valued by the world of pottery, Seminara stands out, where artisans produce symbolic shapes linked to popular traditions: from reproductions of the masks used in Greek theatre, to the grotesque ones used by the local population to keep the evil spirits away. The latter, still today, can be seen embedded in the walls, behind the balconies and windows, to fulfil their function of protecting from evil spirits. In the second half of 1800s in Seminara, there were over 30 pignatari (ceramicists), true masters who kept this precious art form alive. Today, thanks to the recent opening of the Museo della Ceramica, the promotion of this ancient art is starting to attract a new public, and with this, new enthusiasts.
Simple tools are the secret to making ceramics in Seminara: it is the artisans who can turn the raw material into authentic works of art. The results are often everyday tableware, such as cups and plates or tiles that are worked into precious unique objects. The figures often emerged from popular discontent, during the various invasions endured over the centuries. In fact, we find caricatures of Spanish gendarmes or a Bourbon soldier, or even local squires.
DID YOU KNOW THAT ...?
The beautiful ceramics of Seminara, works of artisan wisdom handed down from father to son, can be admired in the neighbourhood called "pignatari" where all the shops of the great masters were once located.
Seminara Ceramics in the House of Culture of Palmi
You can find the ancient ceramics of Seminara in the Museo di etnografia e folklore (“Museum of Ethhnography and Folklore”), located on the ground floor of the Casa della Cultura "Leonida Rèpaci" di Palmi, in the province of Reggio Calabria. In this place, you can immerse yourself in the Calabrian folk tradition by admiring, for example, the famous babbaluti, anthropomorphic bottles of various sizes. Their tradition can be traced back to the times of the Magna Graecia. These are, today as they were back then, made in Seminara.