Explorador Glorioso

« And, eke, the Kings of mem’ory grand and glorious,

who hied them Holy Faith and Reign to spread,

converting, conquering, and in lands notorious »

Luís de Camões, The Lusiads (1556), Canto I, translated by Richard Francis Burton (1880)     

During a trip to Portugal, I immediately fell under the spell of the Azulejos. These enamelled squares, most often blue and white, decorate the walls everywhere, either in the form of repetitive geometric motifs with an exuberant kaleidoscopic effect, or in the form of open-air frescos. The freshness of these decorations offers a little poetry on every street corner and contribute to the incomparable gentleness of Portuguese life.

The Azulejos are more than just an architectural feature of the country, they are a true part of the culture and a source of pride for the Portuguese. Their decorative creativity can be found on every city wall.

This decorative art appeared in the Iberian Peninsula following the Arab expansion, while Christianity and Islam mutually enriched each other with their culture and knowledge. The geometric design of these repetitive patterns owes in part to Arabic mathematics.

The sumptuous azulejos decorations appear during the heyday of Portugal following the discovery of the New World. They reflect the artistic abundance and influence of this kingdom of adventurers.

The pattern I created is based on the principle of azulejos, with elements that can be repeated over and over again to create a stunning kaleidoscopic effect. It pays tribute to Portugal's heyday period, with the presence of many symbolic elements:

  • the predominance of blue evokes the azulejos, which most often use blue and white colours, and sometimes yellow, which is found in the crowns and contours of the scalloped cross

  • the acanthus leaves are a common decorative element during the Baroque period and are a reflection of the artistic movement in vogue during the golden age of Portugal and the Azulejos

  • the armillary sphere, a model of the celestial sphere, is one of the main emblems of the Portuguese kingdom. It has been used since the reign of Manuel I to highlight the importance of the great discoveries in the country's history

  • the compass evokes the great navigators whose caravels travelled across the world's oceans

  • the red coral rosary evokes both the Portuguese devotion to Christianity (the coral symbolizing the blood of Christ), but also the treasures from the seas.


38 x 42 cm (15 x 16.5 inches)

Volume 10 L

100% organic cotton (organic 100 label)

Available fabric colors:

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© 2020 by Dorian Guo

Artiste Décorateur