Any visitor to Sicily cannot fail to notice the Sicilian Moor Heads. Also known as Testa di Moro or Moorish Heads, these distinctive decorative elements are often found in Sicilian architecture, particularly in the forms of ceramics, sculptures and mosaics.
These iconic motifs typically depict the head of an individual, adorned with a turban or a headscarf. While their exact origins are debated, they have become synonymous with Sicilian culture due to their historical significance and prevalent use.
Historically, the Sicilian Moor Heads have been attributed various meanings, from commemorating victories over North African invaders to symbolizing the island’s multicultural past, reflecting the Arab, Norman, and Spanish influences that have shaped Sicilian history. Despite the potential positive interpretations, the imagery also carries associations with slavery and oppression, reminding us of the region’s complex history.