Masks up!

Sa Sartiglia - Oristano

Masks up!

They aren’t just travel souvenirs, but pieces of the ancient world to take home

They have nothing to do with the revised and reinterpreted traditions... the masks of Sardinia and their rituals linked to Carnival have their roots in the mists of time. While elsewhere the period preceding the awakening of nature is experienced as a moment of unanimous joy, the climate of the ‘carnivals’ here is bittersweet, just like it was originally: primordial fears, the power of Nature, death and the Afterlife, the divine and the supernatural. The masks are made of wood, carved by highly skilled ‘masters’. They have also maintained their superstitious symbolism intact and it is said that it is good luck to have one in your home. You can find them in the artistic handicraft shops and in the little shops of sos maistos in Mamoiada, Orani, Oristano and Ottana, some of the most famous places that have preserved and handed down their ancient use intact.

Tradition in the DNA

From the intimacy of the preparations to the collective night-time rituals, children participate in the Carnival with innate passion, dreaming of wearing its masks one day. In places where the link with the past is strongest, more masks have been handed down. This happens in Ottana, a town where the most extraordinary masks of Antiquity, the irresistible su Boe and su Merdule, stage Dionysian rituals.
Maschere di Ottana
A village in the 'heart' of Sardinia, thirty kilometres from Nuoro, famous for an ancient cathedral, carnivalesque traditions and dozens...

The great beauty of the Mamuthone

It is not the usual representation of evil and wild bestiality. To understand the meaning of the mamuthone, go to Mamoiada, where it has continued to be worn with the same brutal and fascinating rituals as those carried out by the forefathers. You will be captivated by its charisma that hovers in the 'tenacious' village, naturally capable of carrying the mask into the present. Disturbing and beautiful... who wouldn't want it in their home?
Maschera Mamuthone - Mamoiada
Tradition and passion in the centre of Sardinia: a hospitable village 16 kilometres from Nuoro will enchant you with its wine, culinary delicacies,...

The carnival of Niffoi, Delitala and Nivola

Imagine these artists, still children, following sos Bundhos along the village streets, emitting dark and frightening cries that emulate the wind. They are reliving the ritual of the peasants who wore masks during storms in order to enter into contact with the wind, which infuses primordial vitality, but can become evil if left to its own devices. A school of life to respect nature, trying to govern its spirit.
Veduta di Orani
A municipality in the Barbagia area, about twenty kilometres from Nuoro, in the centre of Sardinia, a village of artists, artisan traditions,...

Ethereal and androgynous

As long as you’re wearing it you cannot touch the ground, you are divine, and as such you have to run the equestrian joust of Sartiglia, to hit the propitiatory stars during the race. An impalpable and delicate type of divine, far from the rough barbarian masks but with an imposing sacredness that makes it one of the most beautiful masks in Sardinia and, like all of them, lives in a specific place on the island - su componidori is in Oristano.
Oristano - Torre di Mariano
Walls and tower of Mariano
In the centre of Oristano, in the central-western part of Sardinia, stands a historical tower, a place where knights transited during the...