Did you ever wonder what’s the history behind the eye-catching and peculiar door knockers around the islands?
From our research, the origins of these outstanding features in our facades turn out to be quite interesting. As strange as it may sound, pre-mediaeval, prior to the invention of door knockers, people used to scratch with their fingernails at one’s door to call for their attention. Funny, right? 🙂
Luckily, the scratching practice got replaced by knocking later, and that’s when door knockers were introduced. Obviously, no ordinary knocker could have taken place on our treasured facades. Whether it’s a palazzo, townhouse, or even the humblest dwelling, our houses boasted with character. The most original the better, the bigger the better!
Door knockers were found in numerous motifs, shapes and sizes. Made from ceramic, metal or brass, they often featured maritime motifs such as dolphins, sea horses, and fish. A lot of other designs included other animal designs, heads and the popular Maltese Cross.
Together with other house features, a door knocker took part in symbolising the status and wealth of the family living within the house. The most extravagant and rich knockers were a sign of prosperity and power. Aristocrats and upper class families had massive baroque style knockers installed on their imposing palazzos, implying authority.
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If you ever happen to find some time, take a stroll around and appreciate our charming villages around Malta and Gozo. I’m sure you’ll encounter numerous door knockers decorating our beautiful facades, and contrasting with colourful bold doors. Nowadays, we’re still fond of our door knockers. A timeless work of art defining a character.
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