Tiles are quite important to the Portuguese people -- they have been making tiles for exterior decoration of their buildings for more than five centuries. The tradition was inherited from the Arabs who ruled the Iberian Peninsula from the 8th century until 1492. You can see a wonderful display on tiles in the National Azulejo Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.
Tiles are cut in a square, tin oxide is coated on the tile, then a pattern is "poked" through into the clay, which is used as frame to paint the tile. The tile is then baked at ~1000 degrees C, which gives it quite different colors than prior.
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On the top floor is the grand finale- a monumental tile panel of Lisbon.
You can also see boxes and boxes of tiles being readied to be tiled.
Also some nice modern tiles:
Check out my video tour guide of Lisbon if you like!