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The ‘Real Alcázar’ in Seville, Spain is a Royal Palace that was built in different parts from the 13th century on, using previous buildings or remnants from Arabic and Roman times [1].


During a visit I found two places where snails are present in the decoration, one outside and one inside. The first snail I found in the ‘Jardin del Principe’ in a low tile wall ending a pool. This garden is one if the historic gardens of the complex and dates back to the 13th/14th century. However, it is well possibly that the decoration found was added at a later stage.


The wall has a scene consisting of several animals and plants. One of them is a snail, designed over two tiles. It is a dextral specimen, rather stylised and humanised with an eye-spot; the animal has two tentacles.



In a different part of the gardens, near the Pabellón de Carlos V, I found a partial representation of a shell. It is likely part of a malacomorph hybrid (see below).


Nearby I also found a scene with a different malacomorph hybrid; one dextral, the other sinistral. The heads (not shown) are like those of a lion.


Secondly, inside one of the buildings I found one room (‘Sala de las Bóvedas o de las Fiestas’, Halls of Charles V) with one panel containing snails. This room is in the Palacio Gótico and built 1576-1588. The tile walls were made by Cristóbal de Augusta and dated 1577-1578 [2].

Within the same panel, the scene was a few times repeated.





See also [3] for some notes on the tile making industry in Seville.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcázar_of_Seville; http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reales_Alcázares_de_Sevilla.
[2] http://to.ly/ygSk.
[3] Cruikshank, G. & González, E., 1998. A history of tile making in Spain, Part II. Paradise lost. Tile today, May-June 1998: 72-78. http://www.infotile.com/pdfFile/advicetopic/34201025324.pdf.