If you are reading this apart from our other special on Lancha Poveira, then in brief, this area ( Póvoa de Varzim) North of Porto has some amazing boats. (Check the above link to go to our cultural pages for the article.) From this same area is a kind of local short hand “language.”  Glance at the photos included first. (p1, p2)This pictorial language was not a language per sec but was used for the people to refer to a few basic things. The symbols were normally written using a razor on wood, but in painting form on boats. (pic 3) The “language” called siglas was primarily used as a signature for the family coat-of-arms in order to mark family belongings. (see pic 4)


Siglas Poveiras or Marcas is the name of the system.

(p, 1)

Siglas poveiras pic source (1)


(p, 2)


source 2


pic 3

source 3


Family mark describing ownership of a private garage in Rua Cândido Landolt in Póvoa city center. pic 4

PedroPVZ – Own work

source 4


According to Santos Graça, the siglas were inspired by daily objects of Póvoa de Varzim residents:

Lanchina lanchinha — Poveiro Boat (port)
Lanchina lanchinha — Poveiro Boat (nose)
Mastro e verga mastro e verga — Barco Poveiro with hoisted sail
Coice coice — Barco Poveiro (an area where women pushed for Ala-Arriba)
Padrao padrão — Cruzeiro of the Cemetery of Póvoa de Varzim
Grade de 2 piques Grade de 3 piques grades de dois e três piques — Gratings (Agricultural object used in the smoothing of the farm fields after harvest in Giesteira, Póvoa de Varzim)
Sarilho Meio sarilho Meio sarilho sarilho and meio sarilho — Sarilho (object used by women to make hanks of wool or hemp in Póvoa de Varzim)

source 5


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