Exhibition “Civiltà Sarda” (Sardinian Civilization)
On the 10th of August the exhibition “Civiltà Sarda. Al Centro della Storia” (Sardinian Civilization. In the Center of History) was inaugurated in the port of Cagliari, in the old maritime station in the Sanità pier.
This is an educational exhibition created with the disinterested contribution of various archeology lovers. These have made copies or reconstructions of archaeological materials in order to explain the Sardinian culture to tourists. At the entrance to the exhibition there are some panels that briefly explain the history of Sardinia.
Obsidian and Ceramics.
The panels are followed by showcases with reconstructions of weapons and obsidian instruments, beautifully made by Giuseppe Cabras. Obsidian was the ideal material to make knives or sharp tools in general: due to its molecular structure it is sharper than modern surgical scalpels. Then there are some showcases with magnificent reproduction of ceramics and pintadere, made by Manlio Rubiu and Andrea Loddo.
The reconstructions of the bronzetti clothes.
Immediately afterwards there are a series of small bronze statues, reproduced by Andrea Loddo, with at their side the realization in natural scale of the dress represented in the corresponding “bronzetto”. It goes from the priestess of Selene with the pointed hat and multiple necklaces, to the headgear with the cloak and the knotty stick, to various figures of armed men.
Archers and warriors.
Thanks to the panels of the exhibition the tourists caN understand each figurE. For example, archers having to use their weapon with both hands could not carry a shield, which is why they had a rectangular protection in front of their chest to protect the most important organs. Other warriors had a leather cuirass that protected them from enemy blows. Even the helmet was not simply for the protection of the warrior, on the contrary it was a powerful offensive weapon. We can see it for example in the archer of Usellus, where, aside from the decorative element of the fox’s head, the helmet was equipped with a crown of metal spheres all around the head, which was probably used to make a warrior’s butting very more harmful. In addition to the spheres, very sharp horns were present in most helmets.
The warrior of Padria.
Some bronzes, like the warrior of Padria, have spheres placed on the tip of the horns of the helmet. Probably they are protective elements placed not to accidentally injure themselves before the battle. At the front of the helmet there was also a small ax, so that a warrior’s head could be lethal. This warrior was fully armed, with sword, spear, shield with shield boss, containing within it four reserve swords. In fact, the thin swords could break in the battle, so the warriors were equipped with spare swords.
The demon with 4 arms of Thetis.
Very interesting is also the warrior with 4 arms, it is not known if it constituted a sort of mythological figure, or a “parade” armor to impress the enemy. This warrior in fact wore a double shield armed – with sharp points so that the shield was a weapon of offense, as well as defense) hanging from a device that mimicked two fake arms, while with his two real arms he holds two rapiers.
There are also a series of musical instruments, faithfully reconstructed by the musician Pitano Perra, an expert in launeddas. Exactly the launeddas, represented in the old bronze statues, had to be among the oldest instruments, along with the shells, used as horns. One of these shells, covered with red ocher to emphasize its sacredness, was found in Benjamin’s tomb. One of the oldest inhumati of Sardinia, dated 8400 years ago, represented in the exhibition with a reconstruction of his tomb.
Bisso and reproductions of ships.
The exhibition ends with the wonderful works by Bisso di Chiara Vigo and the reconstruction of ships by Gerolamo Exana. Sardinian ships were very special: they were sewn ships. This particular technique of manufacturing ships demonstrates the antiquity of its invention and codification, prior to the introduction of metals. The axles of the ships were in fact assembled through a series of holes through which they were sewn together with vegetable ropes. The holes were then covered with tow and impermeabilized by the application of a vegetable tar. This was obtained from the burning of lentisk and juniper wood.