The Urtzu and the Bardianos

The masks of Ulà Tirso

Headed back to the fore recently, Sos Urtzus and Sos Bardianos are the typical masks of the Ulà Tirso Carnival.

Here, as well as in other Sardinian Carnivals, we can find "s'Urtzu": the animal mask that wears a boar fur, holds a cowbell around the neck and carries on his back "Sa Zippa", a large piece of cork which serves to protect him from the blows of clubs used by the Bardianos.
Photo by F. Ruiu - www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it/
Photo by F. Ruiu - www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it/
"Sos Bardianos" are human figures, dressed in black, with their faces painted and their head covered, wearing classic chaps and shepherd shoes, whose aim is to continually strike "Sos Urtzos".

The Carnival ritual focuses on the fight between the human figure and the animal that has its roots, like the vast majority of Barbagia Carnivals, in agro-pastoral rituals.

A third figure stands out: the one that represents a demonic entity called "Sa Maskinganna" the devil, that in the mythology of Sardinia is not as black as he is painted, but it is quite a prankster elf.

It takes the shape of an animal, wearing the skin of a goat and several cowbells, which he makes constantly sound.

01 January 2016

Mauro Cuccu
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