Silver 2016 People / Culture

Behind the mask: Sardinia's most ancient Carnival traditions

  • Prize
    Silver in People/Culture
  • Photographer
    Marina Spironetti

The photos from this series are part of a much larger body of work about the most ancient carnival traditions in the island of Sardinia, Italy - and particularly in the villages of the inland sub-region of the Barbagia. The images were taken in February 2016 and document the carnival traditions of four villages of the area, with particular attention to the different nature of their masked figures - the "Boes et Merdules" in Ottana, the "Mamuthones" in the town of Mamoiada, the "Battileddu" from Lula and the "Thurpos" in Orotelli. The traditions portrayed pre-date Christianity, especially in the “zoomorphic” masks and are often related to rites of propitiation to the ancient gods of agriculture and fertility.