Objects of the Museu Municipal Ceràmica de Paterna

Funerary plaque 

Sexual and general division of labour

Gender and life cycle: marriage

Gender and space

This funerary inscription, which Cornelius Lupulus dedicated to his wife, employs the epithet bene merenti, ‘well-deserving’. This accolade leads us to think about all of those aspects for which his wife was worthy of praise. The plaque was found during excavations conducted in the Roman villa at Paterna. Based on the texts of Latin agronomic treatise writers, we shift our attention to the role played by women living in a rural environment and to what was expected of them so that they would be worthy of such an inscription.


Gender stereotypes: desiring subject / desired object

Gender and life cycle: marriage

Gender and sexuality

The iconic representation of the Hand of Fatima in medieval ceramics was extremely common in Muslim countries, used as a symbol of protection against illness, misfortune and evil spirits. One of the legends associated with this symbol reveals the resigned attitude of Fatima towards her husband’s infidelity, signifying abnegation and patience as appropriate female attitudes in a relationship. An examination of this and other traditional narratives explains their role in reproducing gender inequality, articulating different socialization processes for men and women. Today, pedagogy and publishers convey this reality, overcoming it with ‘rereadings’ in teacher’s guides for the classroom and on the shelves.

Albahaquero (basil pot)

Gender and clothing

Gender and social class

Gender roles

The function of an albahaquero within the home was to provide a pot for basil, a plant with culinary uses which also served as a natural air freshener, actions linked to the domestic sphere of the female gender. However, its decoration leads us to go further, among other things, to consider the clothing of the period from which it dates and how women were represented in 15th-century iconography. In this depiction, we see a stereotypical woman with a strongly accentuated figure, reinforcing other feminine attributes. But did she really look like this or does it simply reflect the male mentality with regard to women?


Sexual/gender division of labor

Gender and space

Gender stereotypes: public / domestic

The cocio, or cuezo, is a clay pot that was found in domestic settings and was used primarily for laundry, i.e. for washing and whitening clothes. It is fashioned in the shape of a truncated cone, with a wide mouth and narrower base, and was molded in different sizes depending on the amount of clothing to be washed or whitened. In medieval times, women were responsible for washing clothes, first in the river, stream or canal, and then in the home, where the laundry was whitened and sanitized using ashes. The women carried the water from the river to the home for this purpose, and whitened laundry was then washed a second time. This labor, which was never duly acknowledged until the appearance of the modern washing machine, occupied a good part of the day.


Gender and history

Gender and space

Gender roles

Socarrat tiles were used primarily as a decorative element on the ceilings of the main rooms in the homes of nobles and members of the upper class. It was a pictorial medium that combined a wide range of decorative motifs, ranging from classical tradition, to collective archetypes, the contemplation of nature, and contemporary scenes of the times. The poliorceticon, or manual on siege warfare, which was so widely present during the medieval period, is represented here by a man with a crossbow next to a tower. Is he attacking, or defending? The figure is clearly male, but might a woman have participated actively in a scene like this, or would she have been relegated to other tasks?