Az Infinitum - Azulejo Indexation and Referencing System

    Az Infinitum – Azulejo Indexation and Referencing System is a constantly updated online platform that inventories, catalogues and documents tile decorations produced or applied in Portugal until the present. It is the only platform with these characteristics and the largest national database on azulejos, managed by a team of specialized researchers. Our goals? To get to know, study, promote and protect Portugal’s tile heritage!



    More than a database specialized in azulejos, Az Infinitum is a work tool that uses both the methods traditionally employed in Art History and digital technologies to build a system aimed at documenting, cataloguing and indexing tile coverings still found in their original locations. As the anchor project of Az – Azulejo Research Network, Az Infinitum is the focal point of all the research developed within this group, from R&D projects to MA and PhD dissertations, for example. Accordingly, Az Infinitum is not an end, but a means, with a very significant methodological role – it is used to systematize data and information gathered in a specific field, situating them within the wider context of Portugal’s tile production. This systematization allows the database to expand its ability to cross-reference information.  


    Az Infinitum is a research-oriented system. At its core lie specific research questions formulated by a team of art historians from different institutions, as well as computer engineers and graphic designers, intent on “(…) creating a system capable of documenting tile heritage from all periods and of all kinds still found in situ and linking together concepts such as space, time, agents, iconography, techniques or materials, in order to generate contextual and long-term readings that are able to offer zoom-in and zoom-out perspectives on a history of more than five centuries, that should not be regarded as linear, but as multidimensional” (Carvalho, 2018).

    The various projects and MA dissertations that were successfully concluded and the ongoing PhD projects attest to the validity of this proposal and its importance for the current research on Portuguese azulejos. Az Infinitum also aims to keep on growing as a digital space where all research contributions can be properly contextualized, in an effort to put together and update a history of Portuguese tiles. 


    The experience gained by a specialized team in the context of Az Infinitum enabled the publication, in 2014, of version 1.0 of the Inventory Guide for Azulejos In Situ, coordinated by Rosário Salema de Carvalho (Az – Azulejo Research Network), Alexandre Pais (National Azulejo Museum) and Ana Paula Figueiredo (SIPA – Information System for Architectural Heritage, DGPC).

    Updated in the following years, this Guide had at its main objective the definition of guidelines for the inventory of azulejos in an architectural context. Designed to be independent from any inventory programme, the Guide promotes, in an accessible manner, a common work methodology with a controlled terminology capable of speeding up the future integration or combination of inventories carried out by different entities. 

    Carvalho, Rosário Salema de, Alexandre Pais, and Ana Paula Figueiredo. “Guia de Inventário de Azulejo in situ”. Lisbon, 2014.


    Content legibility was among the research team’s first concerns, and hence the organization of the information on the platform favoured the possibility of defining different interpretive levels. This is why many information categories are grouped within text boxes that can be expanded, and what was initially but a physical description ended up including a brief description, contextualizing some of the main aspects systematized in each entry.  

    Making the information freely available, with comprehensive licenses, is another of Az Infinitum’s main goals, and we are working on having the information published in reusable formats, so that it can be explored for cultural, touristic and recreational purposes, among others. 



    All of the Az’s projects converge on Az Infinitum, and the tab Projects offers a detailed description of each one. Among them, it is worth highlighting the project Cataloguing Portuguese tile patterns, as it is an essential part of the system.  



    Initiated in 2010 and made freely available online in 2012, Az Infinitum is developed by Az – Azulejo Research Network, in partnership with the National Azulejo Museum and the company Sistemas do Futuro, and coordinated by Rosário Salema de Carvalho and Alexandre Pais.


    SCIENTIFIC OUTPUT [Selection] 

    Book chapters
    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de; XAVIER, Rafaela; LEITÃO, Inês - Digital Techniques for the Study of Portuguese Azulejos (Glazed Tiles). Between Alice’s White Rabbit and the Mad Tea Party. In BROWN, Kathryn - The Routledge Companion to Digital Humanities and Art History. New York: Routledge, 2020. p. 408–19.

    Journal articles
    SERRÃO, Vitor; CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – Identificar, Documentar, Estudar e Divulgar - Os Azulejos dos Hospitais da Colina de Santana no Az Infinitum. Anais do Instituto de Higiene de Medicina Tropical - Património, Ciência e Saúde: Intervir, Conhecer, Preservar e Valorizar [Em linha]. 17: 3 (2019) S25–28. Available at WWW:

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – To be part of ... Architecture, Decoration or Iconography. Documenting Azulejo as Integrated Heritage. ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences [Em linha]. IV-2/W6 (2019) 39–46. Available at WWW:

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – Az Infinitum - Sistema de Referência e Indexação de Azulejo. ARTIS - Revista de História da Arte e Ciências do Património. 6 (2018) 88–95.

    Conference proceedings
    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – Autorias. Jorge Colaço no Az Infinitum. In Jorge Colaço – Conhecer, Divulgar e Preservar. Museu de Cerâmica de Sacavém: Câmara Municipal de Loures, 2019. Available at WWW: p. 203–12.

    MELLO, Eliana; SOUZA, Luiz ; CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – Os desafios para a preservação do patrimônio cultural contemporâneo: análise panorâmica da realidade prática da conservação na elaboração do inventário da azulejaria brasileira do século XX. In Actas do Simpósio Internacional De Viollet-le-Duc à Carta de Veneza. Teoria e prática do restauro no espaço Ibero-Americano. Lisboa: Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, 2014. p. 409-416.

    MA Dissertations and PhD Theses
    XAVIER, Rafaela. Catalogação de Azulejos Hispano-Mouriscos em Portugal: o Palácio Nacional de Sintra como estudo de caso. Lisboa: Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Lisboa, 2020. MA Dissertation. Available at WWW:

    MELLO, Eliana Ursine da Cunha Mello. Inventário do Patrimônio Azulejar Artístico Contemporâneo Brasileiro do século XX ao século XXI. Minas Gerais: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 2015. MA Dissertation.

    Oral presentations
    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de; PAIS, Alexandre; ALMEIDA, Ana; AGUIAR, Inês; MARINHO, Lúcia – Do imóvel à plataforma digital. O património azulejar do Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central. Presentation [with scientific refereeing] at O Património Artístico das Ordens Religiosas: entre o Liberalismo e a Actualidade. Lisboa: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, 2014 February 20.

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de; PAIS, Alexandre; CABRAL, Fernando – Az Infinitum - Azulejo Indexation and Referencing System. Presentation [with scientific refereeing] at CIDOC [International Committee for Documentation do ICOM] Annual Conference. Dresden, 2014 September 10.

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de; PAIS, Alexandre; SERRÃO, Vítor – Az Inifinitum: Sistema de Referência e Indexação de Azulejo. Presentation [by invitation]. Lisboa: Centro Nacional de Cultura, 2012 October 17.

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – Az Infinitum - Sistema de Referência e Indexação de Azulejo. Presentation [by invitation] at 8º Encontro de Utilizadores de Aplicações de Gestão do Património. Coimbra, 2013 May 23.

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – O inventário como ferramenta de salvaguarda do património azulejar. Presentation [by invitation] at Seminário do Projecto SOS Azulejo. Figueira da Foz: Casa do Paço, 2010 June 18.

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – Rede Temática em Estudos de Azulejaria e Cerâmica João Miguel dos Santos Simões: apresentação do projecto de thesaurus de azulejaria. Presentation [by invitation] at Workshop da Rede de Museus (Brasil & Portugal) – Thesaurus de Instrumentos Científicos. Lisboa: Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, 2009 November 16.

    CARVALHO, Rosário Salema de – Rede Temática em Estudos de Azulejaria e Cerâmica João Miguel dos Santos Simões. Presentation [by invitation] at 7ª edição do Encontro de Utilizadores de Aplicações de Gestão do Património. Portimão, 2010 November 12.

    PAIS, Alexandre; MARINHO Lúcia – Az Infinitum: um sistema de indexação de azulejaria portuguesa. Presentation [by invitation] at Jornadas SIPA 2012. Odivelas: Centro de Exposições de Odivelas, 2012 September 28.