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The Swallow

In 1891, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro shaped some ceramic swallows that continue hanging from the ceiling of Tabacaria Mónaco, in the Rossio square in Lisbon. Getting carried away, he used them on plates, tiles and other decorative pieces. The image of this beautiful and joyful bird, known to be brave and faithful, touched the Portuguese heart and, throughout the 20th century, was adapted by handcrafts and used in façades, balconies and domestic interiors throughout the country. After over one century of popular affection, this symbolic and decorative object has be-come a true Portuguese icon. A Vida Portuguesa sells both versions of the swallow: the popular and the original, specially re-issued in 2006, using Bordalo Pinheiro’s original moulds.