MAMUTHONES AND ISSOHADORES: Ancient Pagan Carnival in Sardinia

Mamuthones and Issohadores are two traditional masks still visible during the ancient pagan Carnival held in the small town of Mamoiada (in the mountains of Barbagia, Sardinia, Italy). Here the dressing ceremony which is a very private affair (Full story after the photos).

Some scholars argue that this rite dates back to the Nuragic Era, as a gesture of reverence for animals, to protect from evil spirits or to propitiate the harvest. Whatever the origins, this is a very deeply felt rite and a very important part of Mamoiada’s ancient culture.
I decided to capture not the main event (the final procession open to the public) but what happens before, in the backstage, and during the dressing ceremony… a very private and secluded matter that takes over three hours and is not open to the public. This is where it is possible to see and understand what this festivity really means to those individuals who put on the masks… plus 30kg of iron bells and goat skins.


 

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Tony Corocher Photography Awards - PX3