Large medieval unglazed ceramic plaque with black and red decoration, featuring a cross made of trunks, symbol of the tanners guild, framed by a line of ochre and a wider black line. It comes from the old tanners' guild chapel in Valencia.
Socarrats are typical elements of medieval ceramic production in Paterna (Valencia); they were made from the late 14th century in Valencia as a mean of decorating the ceilings of palaces, where they were placed between the wooden beams as a cheaper and quicker alternative to painted wooden ceilings. Since there was no need to protect them from wear or impacts, after the clay moulding and firing, the plaques were not glazed and were simply decorated with ochre and black pigment on a lime ground.
The compositions usually included real and imaginary animals, ships, castles, human figures such as soldiers or couples, and more often plants and geometric motifs, as well as guild symbols, as it is the case here. As they are unglazed and unprotected, most of the surviving decorations on socarrats are rarely in very good condition, and usually show wear and scratches.
Good examples of Gothic socarrats can be seen in the Museo Nacional de Cerámica González-Martí in Valencia and in the Museo Arqueológico of Madrid, which conserves an identical example to this one (Inv. 60403).
In very good condition.
Prov: Private Collection, Valencia