Surkoya's Artists

Portuguese tiles

When someone mentions Portugal, a few things come to mind: Port wine, Lisbon, seafood, and … azulejos! Even visitors who aren’t familiar with the term may see images of these glazed, ceramic tiles in their mind’s eye.

At Surkoya, in our quest to bring you impacting and stunning beauty from around the world, we want to share these timeless pieces with you through our one-of -a-kind rugs that faithfully recreate the history, design and culture of Portugal and their timeless azulejos.

Azulejos date as far back as the 13th century, when the Moors invaded the land that now belongs to Spain and Portugal, but they secured their foothold in Portuguese culture between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Portuguese tiles
Portugese Art - Azulejos

The word 'Azulejo' actually stems from Arabic roots, meaning ‘small polished stone’. Originally they were fairly simple structures cut into geometric shapes in neutral tones.It wasn’t until Portugal’s King Manuel I visited Seville and brought the idea back, that Portugal truly adopted this artwork into its culture. The tiles were used to cover up the large areas of blank wall that were common inside buildings during the Gothic period.It still is typical for the Portuguese to tell stories about their history, religion, and culture through azulejo tiles.


Antique azulejos were decorated in a simple color palate, dominated by blues and whites, which you can see beautifully recreated on many examples of rugs in this Surkoya collection. These colors were influenced by the Age of Discoveries (15th – 18th centuries) and evoke the close relationship Portugal has had with the water for centuries. Through the use of the blue and white color pallet, the carpets infuse a sense of calmness and tranquility around them.
After the Earthquake of 1755 (which destroyed most of Lisbon), the capital saw a shift from Manueline architecture (a Portuguese-Gothic style) to Pombaline architecture, also influencing the use of azulejos.Simple geometric shapes were replaced by more ornate decoration. Other colors that appeared subsequently were yellow and green, which create a vibrant sensation, full of life and energy, as you can see from the examples of the beautiful Surkoya rugs in this catalog. It still is typical for the Portuguese to tell stories about their history, religion, and culture through azulejo tiles.


While visiting a church or cathedral in Portugal, true art lovers and connoisseurs pay as much attention to the altars as the interior and exterior walls. Many are decorated in these beautiful and unique tiles instead of fabric, depicting a style that started during the 16th century. Birds and leaves were frequently symbols used as decoration, inspired by Asian fabrics, and once again bring the beauty of nature into art.


During the last couple of centuries, the use of azulejos exploded. Today, it is common to see them decorating churches, monasteries, restaurants, bars, railway and subway stations, palaces, and regular homes. They are also used extensively in interior decoration.Nowadays, azulejos are a dominant feature in every Portuguese city and can be seen in villages as well. In addition to public buildings and private homes, they are used as street signs, to decorate public benches, and along beach walls.Some of the most famous sites known for their azulejo art include the Sao Bento Railway Station in Porto, the Buçaco Palace, and many stops in the Lisbon Metro.


By acquiring a Surkoya rug from the Portuguese tile collection, you will be able to truly experience  the history and beauty of these artistically unique pieces and in that way bring the true taste, colors and designs of Portugal into your home through a top quality high-resolution carpet which will fill your floors with vibrancy and beauty and bring a piece of the unavoidable beauty of Portugal into your everyday life.

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Surkoya Atelier
8690 Biscayne Blvd, Suite 7
33138 Miami FI - U.S.A.

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