The story of Porto’s colourful swallows

In Porto I saw ceramic birds for sale at every turn.

I was told they first came about in 1891 when artist Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro decided to produce a set of ceramic pieces that looked like swallows and put them on the outside of a building.

They soon became part of the culture, symbolising values like home, loyalty and fidelity (the swallow has one partner for life and returns to the same place to beat each year).

They also became a symbol of love: lovers would exchange these figures as a sign of affection for each other.

Originally made in black, these swallows are now found in many different colours, like these ones in @theportuguesecock.

Personally, I love the diversity: what about you?

Martha, The Colour File x

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