Enchanting Ceramic Sardines from Portugal: 5 to Buy

Recently I saw a cache of small ceramic fish—sardines, to be exact—in a shop and inexplicably felt entranced. I could see one perched on my desk or hanging beside the front door in greeting. Unbeknownst to me, Julie was, at the same time, also coveting porcelain sardines. Traditional in Portugal and a marriage of the country’s longstanding exports—seafood and ceramics—the little fish symbolize “prosperity, good luck, and abundance.” What better housewarming, host, or just-because gift?

Here are our five favorites.

julie is taken by the handmade porcelain sardines from march sf, made by a loca 14
Above: Julie is taken by the Handmade Porcelain Sardines from March SF, made by a local ceramicist in Northern California; $50 each.

the ceramic sardines at soleil maine are all made by hand in portugal and have  15
Above: The Ceramic Sardines at Soleil Maine are all made by hand in Portugal and have an opening on the back for hanging on the wall. They’re $11 each and come in an array of colors.

available via luisa paixão, the caldas da rianha ceramic sardines are made 16
Above: Available via Luisa Paixão, the Caldas da Rianha Ceramic Sardines are made in small workshop in the province of Estremadura, Portugal. “The moulds used there have been handed down from generation to generation, and the owner of the workshop now uses his grandfather’s moulds,” according to the shop. Choose from five different patterns; each fish is $16.99.

portuguese artist, comic creator, and ceramicist rafael bordalo pinheiro was pe 17
Above: Portuguese artist, comic creator, and ceramicist Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro was perhaps the first to create ceramic sardines. Over a century later, his company, Bordallo Pinheiro, still makes them. The earthenware Natural Sardine ($60) is hand-painted—and so named because the makers also offer a slew of jaunty joke and caricature fish by designers and artists.

these blue ceramic sardines were handmade by artist alexandra faria de almeida  18
Above: These Blue Ceramic Sardines were handmade by artist Alexandra Faria de Almeida in Avedouda in Coimbra, Portugal, for the Stonington Historical Society in Connecticut. Each is $25.

For more from Portugal, see:

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