TITLE: Sardinian Mamuthone
TYPE: face mask
SUBREGION: Mamoiada, Sardinia
ETHNICITY: Italian (Sardinian)
MAKER: Ruggero Mameli (Mamoiada, 1954- )
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2010
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; leather straps; metal hardware

The people of Sardinia celebrate Carnival with a unique tradition whose origin is the subject of much debate. Most participants in the Carnival parade in the region of Mamoiada wear costumes and masks of one of two characters: the Issohadore and Mamuthone. The Issohadores dress in a bright military costume and wear a white mask. Soha in Sardinian means “lasso,” which is what the Issohadores carry to encircle and abduct young women in the crowd while they guard the troop of black-masked Mamuthones. Some hypothesize that the Issohadore represents the Spanish conqueror of Sardinia in 1717, and the Mamuthones represent the oppressed Sardinian peasantry. Although the Carnival tradition seems to be much older, it may have been shaped by these historical events.