Mamuthones: when history becomes legend

Mamuthones history

The history of Mamuthones. The legend of Mamuthones. This mask made of leathers, cowbells and black figures is part of the culture and the traditions of Sardinia.


The origin

The origin un uncertain. There are different theories about it:

  • Oral evidence says that Mamuthones existed in the XIX century.
  • Order to some scientists the origin of Mamuthones date back to nuragic ages: they were a veneration rite of animals, of protection by spirits, of bodes well for the harvest.
  • Another theory says that Mamuthones were the celebration of the victory of the shepherd against the Saracen invaders who were taken prisoners and led in procession on the road.

There are also other theories about origin of Mamuthones: a rite to subjugate the ox, a procession in honour of bucolic divinity, a link with Dyonisian rites and so on. For whatever reason this amazing and mysterious rite is alive until today.


Mamuthones and Issohadores

Talk about Mamuthones means also talk about Issohadores: a white mask with white shirt and trousers, a red waistcoat, sa berretta on the head, black boots. Two protagonists of a unique parade: 12 Mamuthones and 8 Issohadores walk on the road. The first walk and ring the cowbells, the latter throw the rope to catch the women, as sign of fertility.


When you see them

The history is uncertain but maybe for this reason the Mamuthones are become so famous and the traditional mask of Sardinia. To see them there are three period:

  • Autumn in Barbagia (from September to December) in Mamoiada;
  • Carnival (from February to March);
  • The summer Carnival of Porto Torres (July and August ).


The dance of Mamuthones and Issohadores (video by AllWays Sardinia):


Image source:

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