POTTERY: goes back to prehistoric times; shapes reproduce seventeenth-century traditional "estrecho de terra", used to prepare, keep and carry food. Among everyday utensils, there are water jugs, pitchers, basins, pans, sa freguera (used to make sa fregula, typical fresh Sardinian pasta), su frascu and the "bride's jug".
Artistic pottery re-examines traditonal shapes from a modern point of view.
It is extaordinary to see a potter at work: a piece of clay, placed on top of a spinning wheel, is shaped by skilled hands.
Pottery from Assemini, not far from Cagliari, is very famous, as well as Dorgali (NU) and Oristano.
GOLDSMITH'S ART: is very common in the Island, especially in Alghero (SS), Quartu S.Elena (CA) and Dorgali (NU).
Gold, silver and coral are the main materials used for Sardinian jewels.
Sardinian goldsmiths are famous for their filigree decorations; the metal is reduced to extremely thin threads, which are intertwined and bended in order to obtain refined and complex objects. Don't miss the wedding rings, brooches, typical buttons and earrings, along with thin chains and pendants, sometimes used as amulets, and rosaries, to hang on top of the bed.
WEAVING: is one of the most widespread crafts in the Island, and it produces carpets (once used to cover wooden chests), covers, curtains, shawls, towels, hand-made on horizontal and more ancient vertical wooden looms.
The raw materials are sheep wool, cotton and linen.
Many craftsmen still use vegetable materials to colour the fabrics.
The designs, which are geometric, vegetable, animal or composite, depend on the area where the tapestries are woven, as well as the colours.
There are different weaving techniques: "smooth", "point" or "pebble" fabric, ("a grani"), where the filling comes out of the warp, forming small drops in relief.
Dorgali (NU), Samugheo and Mogoro (OR), and Nule (SS) are some of the towns which are famous for their tapestries.
LEATHER: is especially famous in Dorgali (NU) and Santulussurgiu (OR), where harnesses are produced.
FLICK-KNIVES: symbolise bravery in Sardinia's rural society.
The blade and the handle are both hand-made. The handle is carved from horn; moufflon horn is the most renowned, along with goat and mutton. The blade is forged by craftsmen.
The shape of the knives can indicate the area where they were produced. Sa pattadesa is a knife from Pattada (NU), very common among sheperds in the inner part of the Island. It is thin and elegant, and its blade is shaped like a myrtle leaf. The handle is made of two separate pieces of horn, brazed together.
Sa guspinesa e s'arburesa are knives from Guspini (CA) and Arbus (CA). They are larger than sa pattadesa, the blade is wider and a single piece of horn is used.
Other renowned towns are Santulussurgiu (OR), Dorgali (NU) and Fonni (NU).
BASKETWORK: is very diffuse in Sardinia. Raw materials are reeds, hay, willow-trees, palmets and asphodels. There are many different shapes: baskets shaped as balls, upside down bells, elliptical, and corbule (to hold bread), that women are used to balance on top of their head.
The baskets are decorated alternating fibers of different colours, or adding coloured threads or strips to the weave. Sinnai (CA), Ollolai (NU) and Castelsardo (SS) are famous for their baskets.
WOODCARVING: is directed towards producing objects for everyday use. Carved trunks are the most typical wooden handicrafts; decorated with geometric and naturalistic designs, they were meant to hold the bride's trousseau. Other wooden objects are cutting boards, spoons, stools and the typical carnival masks.
The best known towns for woodcarving are in the Gennargentu area, especially Tonara (NU) and Desulo (NU).
IRON AND COPPER: Copper smiths from Isili (NU), probably of gipsy origin, blacksmiths from Santulussurgiu, and Sassari and Cagliari's wrought iron are well renowned.
Sardinia has a rich handicraft heritage that reflects its historical and cultural stratification.
Although various influences from Pre-Neolithic, Neolithic, Roman and Byzantine period, Sardinian handicrafts can be defined as real popular art, as a means of cultural expression of the whole population.
The continuity of traditional techniques has also been preserved throughout the centuries. Sardinian carpets, for example, have not only their own unique local characteristics that an expert can identify among carpets from hundreds of different countries, but the manufacturing techniques, the materials, the designs and the colors, (which vary greatly from village to village) ensure that Sardinian carpets can be easily recognized.
The same can be said for basketwork. Sardinian baskets represent one of the most characteristic and varied expressions of Sardinian decorative art. Ceramics and pottery also represent the characteristic decorative art for which Sardinia is famous.
Sardinian handicrafts, whose origins spring from humble rural life, offer a rustic genuineness.
Tapestries, carpets, filigree and baskets are only some expressions of Sardinian handicrafts which are known for their variety, richness and uniqueness.