Moorish Heads legend: what really happened?


Today we’re celebrating an amazing Sicilian home decor objet: the Moorish Heads!

This typical symbol is usually a ceramic vase that can be fulfilled with flowers or plants. It can be exposed in your home and it recalls ancient Sicilian traditions. Where is this symbol from? Is there a legend behind it? We’ll answer all your wonders in this blog post!

Actually there are two versions about Moorish Heads’ legend…but none of them is extremely joyful! Don’t you wanna know more about it? Let’s do it!


  • First version – The vengeful lady

During the 1000 A.C. Sicily was dominated by the moors. Our legend says that in the Arabic district of Palermo a young beautiful woman spent her days taking care of the plants on her balcony. One day she was noticed by a man, a moor, who declared such a passionate love for her that she returned his feelings. Unfortunately the woman didn’t know what the man was hiding…he had a wife and kids in the East and he had to go back to them. The woman was so angry and destroyed by the betrayal that she decided for a dark revenge plan.

During one night, when the moor was sleeping, she decided to kill him so that he could never leave her for his family. In order to keep the man even closer she decided to cut his head off and use it as a vase for her beautiful balcony. She planted a basil in it and exposed it on the balcony. Every day she took care of her plant watering it with her own tears.

The basil was so beautiful and blooming that the neighbours were jealous of her vase and decided to re-create it in terracotta for their homes.

That’s how everything started…


  • Second version – The beheaded lovers

In another version of the legend the young lady had noble origins and she had a secret affair with a moor. The impossible love was soon discovered and punished by the decapitation of both lovers. In order to prevent others to do the same, their heads were exposed as vases. That’s why we usually find a couple of moorish heads: one of a woman and one of a man.


Here at Very Wonder we want to celebrate one of the symbols of a special region of Southern Italy! We reproduced, in watercolor, a version of the couple recalling the legend. Let us introduce Sicilian Woman and Moorish Head.  If you miss the original copies, painted by the italian artist, make sure you can have a print of the female version and male version!

We hope you liked this special wonder story!