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12/12/2017

Discovering «sa burra», an ancient and precious Sardinian carpet

Discovering «sa burra» the ancient and precious carpet made with the vertical frame

The ancient traditional weaving of Sarule still produces the precious «sa burra» carpets made with expertise by local artisans with the vertical frame. An extremely valuable product that uses natural raw materials such as sheep’s wool and, in some cases, dyes based on local herbs, just as it used to be.

TRADITION Tradition has it that «sa burra» was donated by barbarian mothers to their firstborn son on the occasion of his engagement. If the marriage had gone wrong, the beautiful carpet, made with skill and effort by the artisans of Sara, would have been divided in half. This precious artifact is the highest expression of the ancient Saruese textile tradition. If once, in fact, the women of the village used to use their craftsmanship skills for the realization of everyday objects, in the last two centuries, with the realization of «sa burra», the carpet born from the traditional local blanket, their art and their mastery was put, in a sense, at the service of art, thanks to the creation of a precious product (just think that, according to popular tradition, was traded with as many as 40 kilos of cheese or 120 of wheat) which had exclusively an aesthetic and highly symbolic function. It can be said that its diffusion was the fruit of word of mouth. At the beginning of the last century, in fact, a woman from Sassari, having been struck by a sarulese rug made for a relative, wanted to reach the village to admire the artisans at work and asked them to go to Sassari to organize a demonstration with which they would make known the ancient technique of weaving carpets. It was, in fact, a work of extreme skill that is said to require the commitment of three craftsmen who weaved busily to the vertical frame for 40 days during which, especially if the weather conditions were not favorable, the client had to take care of them bringing warm milk, eggs and other food necessary for sustenance.

FEATURES Sa burra is, therefore, an extremely valuable carpet made, according to tradition, with the fleece of the sheep from which we obtain the stamen (the most resistant yarn used to make the warp) and wool, particularly suitable, thanks to the softness , to the realization of the plots. The bright colors of the carpet are obtained by cooking different herbs. The yellow color, for example, which is predominant, is obtained from branches and leaves of erimeri, while black is the natural color of wool, formerly obtained from the walnut husk. To intensify and strengthen the colors, a mixture of water and ash called «sa lessia» is added. The motifs that decorate the artefact draw inspiration from the daily life of the Sarulese community. «Is denteddas», for example, is inspired by human teeth, «sas menduleddas», instead, is inspired by the typical sweets in almond paste, while «sos mojos» recall the classic cork containers that were used to make the bread leaven and in place of beehives for bees.

THE TERRITORY Sa Burra is mainly an artifact of the tradition of Sarule, but also of the other two Barbaricini Municipalities of Gadoni and Orani. Every year, during the passage of the religious procession of Corpus Domini, they are used to decorate the houses and represent one of the Sardinian handicraft products that can be admired during folklore events like Autumn in Barbagia.

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