06 September 2011

Spanish Ceramics on stamps…



Date of Issue : 5 September 2011

This Spanish  Post  issued a set of four stamps on Spanish Ceramics from the Museum of Ceramics in Manises. The stamps feature  four different stamps depicting a water jug, a vase, a plate and a modernist bottle.

History of Ceramics…


Ceramics is one of the most ancient industries on the planet. Once humans discovered that clay could be dug up and formed into objects by first mixing with water and then firing, the industry was born. As early as 24,000 BC, animal and human figurines were made from clay and other materials, than fired in kilns partially dug into the ground.

Almost 10,000 years later, as settled communities were established, tiles were manufactured in Mesopotamia and India. The first use of functional pottery vessels for storing water and food is thought to be around 9000 or 10,000 BC. Clay bricks were also made around the same time.


Glass was believed to be discovered in Egypt around 8000 BC, when overheating of kilns produced a colored glaze on the pottery. Experts estimate that it was not until 1500 BC that glass was produced independently of ceramics and fashioned into separate items.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages, when the metal industry was in its infancy. Furnaces at that time for melting the metal were constructed of natural materials. When synthetic materials with better resistance to high temperatures (called refractories) were developed in the 16th century, the industrial revolution was born. These refractories created the necessary conditions for melting metals and glass on an industrial scale, as well as for the manufacture of coke, cement, chemicals, and ceramics.


Another major development occurred in the second half of the 19th century, when ceramic materials for electrical insulation were developed. As other inventions came on the scene-including automobiles, radios, televisions, computers-ceramic and glass materials were needed to help these become a reality.

History of the ceramics of Manises

If we review the history of the ceramics of Manises since the XIV century till this day we see an evolution in colours, shapes and styles. There are blue pottery pieces with inscriptions and motifs of Muslim influence, pottery also made in the gold reflective technique of the Muslims or Christians; geometric ceramic with images of lions and birds from the XVI and XVII centuries and ceramics with varied motives and white backgrounds from the XVIII century.

In the XIX century ceramics of Manises, the most common pieces are the multicolored and popular type ones such as small plates, pieces of china decorated with the ornaments brides wore on their wedding days, water jugs and octagonal plates, amongst other common items. The motifs are mainly floral, but there are also birds, animals, human figures and architecture depicted. Late XIX century decoration depicts scenes of everyday life, trades, etc. In the XX century, Manises ceramics had a significant impact on Modernism, thus today we find important and representative pieces of this artistic trend.

Design on stamps

The XIX century water jug is crafted in a potter's wheel with embossed decorations, glazed earthenware and polychrome decoration. It depicts landscapes with architecture, bouquets of flowers and a heart of Jesus, as well as the initials of its owner, D. José Sanchís. The gazelles vase is a XIX century replica of a Muslim ceramic. It is made of glazed earthenware decorated in blue with a metallic sheen in the factory of Francisco Valldecabres in Manises. The plate was made on a potter's wheel in glazed pottery. It depicts the traditional dress of a bride of Valencia and it dates back to the second third of the XIX century in Manises. The Modernist bottle is partially glazed and embossed in polychrome. It depicts the bust of a woman in profile and is believed to have been manufactured in 1910 at the factory of La Rosa in Manises.

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