Chita de Alcobaça — A Portuguese Legacy

Chita de Alcobaça - copyright Amazém dos Linhos, Porto - Portugal


Originally from India and brought to Europe by Vasco da Gama in the 15th century, Chita (from the Hindu Chintz, which means spot) gained notoriety from the 17th-18th century, when it followed the trends of European production with oriental inspiration, or recreations of English and French designs from the same century. It's traditionally associated with decorating houses, making quilts, making curtains and lining chests.

It is a 100% traditionally Portuguese cotton fabric characterized by its prints, essentially with wide stripes at the top, but also with exotic birds, human figures, amphorae, cornucopias, nests, flowers and tropical fruits of the most varied colors and shapes, each pattern having its own name.

It's a fully handmade product made by Portuguese.

Chita de Alcobaça - Loja Armazém dos Linhos, Porto

The added value of these drawings lies in their extensive singularity, since they are not produced in series, and no piece is the same as any other; it's, as they say, a personalization as it no longer exists.

In addition to its aesthetics, and according to its pattern, Chita can convey something more feminine, more romantic, more lively or more minimalist, depending on the tastes and perspectives of each one. It fits in many contexts, both in terms of clothing and decoration (The World Of Interiors published an extensive article about it in March 1997).

The World of Interiors magazine - Chita de Alcobaça - Armazém dos Linhos, Porto


Of the patterns that stand out the most are patterns such as:

SHANGRI—LÁ that offers a rich oriental touch due to its red tones and fine traces of gold.

Sangri-lá pattern - Chita de Alcobaça - Armazém dos Linhos, PortoSHANGRI—LÁ PATTERN

VIANA with the hearts of the city that transport us with love, ideal for two lovers.

Chita de Alcobaça


CAMPINA where prints of the sweetness of tropical fruits, the beauty of the birds and the rarity of the flowers appear.

Chita de Alcobaça


ALCOBAÇA, one of the most famous for its name, as for its symbology, which brings us to the amphoras and flowers, origin of its production.

Chita de Alcobaça


They all have the same central feature: the wide stripe at the top. Where they differ, further on, is in the making of their base pattern (colors and shapes contained therein), and there may be more than one version for each pattern.

Chita de Alcobaça


This tradition still remains today. It's revisited by countless artists, gaining new life in the hands of those who want to keep this custom alive. Its applications appear in the most varied articles, all of them personalized one by one, from personalized dossiers, aprons, cases, crockery, ceramics, bedspreads, beach bags, lampshades, straw hats or bags, as well as scented decorations.

Chita de Alcobaça revisited in tote bag or purse by Armazém dos Linhos, PortoExemple of revisited pieces by @armazem_dos_linhos_porto

One of the most famous places in Portugal for its Chita is the Made in Alcobaça store (@madeinalcobaca) by Florbela Costa, which brings together all this tradition and color in one space. The creator of the project says that the idea comes from a cultural concept, in which the objective is to return to the spirit of the Chita that over time has been forgotten, aiming to increase the visibility of this national product in order to value it for what it is and represents, for its value and cultural richness, taking it to any part of the globe in order to bring a little of what the Portuguese can give to the world in cultural terms.

Chita de Alcobaça

"Florbela Costa crossed the country from Trás-os-Montes to reinvent this “alcobaça cloth, of inferior quality” (as Gil Vicente called it in its Farsa dos Almocreves, because fine cloths were made in Covilhã)" — in Evasões (photo by Catarina Reis)

Here is an example of Marin Montagut who fell in love with the Chitas of Alcobaça to the point of having made-to-measure shirts.

Marin Montagut

MARIN MONTAGUT (@marinmontagut)


When it came to thinking about the design of a bag to pack our suspensions, the Chita de Alcobaça seemed obvious. There's always the desire to draw on our original Portuguese traditions in order to pass them on to future generations. When we create the pendant lamps, we wanted to bring this detail to the packaging that covers them, as they are all dressed in calico. We decided to add a hint of this universe to this trip to your home in order to make this experience, which is rediscovering this already ancient tradition, even more unique. Wrapping them in a fine fabric of noble origin honors the history that inhabits them in a simple and sustainable way — in a way that recalls the customs that intrinsically define Portugal.

Deep down, it's an idea that aims to join one tradition to another, coming to tell a story around a product, through what it expresses visually, the fabric that surrounds it, as well as the beauty that fills it.

Candeeiros Luz


Hand in hand we create.

 Where to buy Chita de Alcobaça?
Armazém dos Linhos: Rua de Passos Manuel, 154000-384 Porto, Portugal
Made In Alcobaça: Praça 25 de Abril nº64 2460-018 Alcobaça, Portugal

Sources : Get Lisbon, O Alcoa, Lusa Mater
Photos : Cover and photos 1-2-3-4-9 : Armazém dos Linhos, Porto / Google / Florbela Costa: @madeinalcobaça

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