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The Nuoro peasant does not permit her bereavement to rob her costume of color and ornament, however. The double button at the neck is a feature which is common to many districts of the island (see also Color Plates II and VII).


Autochrome by Luigi Pellerano Wealthy farmers, when traveling along mountain trails, still carry their guns, though the banditry of the open road has become a mere tradition. The man on foot carries his lunch in the end of his berretta, or long cap.


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In this section of the island, known as the Switzerland of Sardinia, the women have retained old fashions unaltered, but in most other districts the peasant costumes which have been handed down for generations as family heirlooms are rapidly disappearing.

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These mountain farmers consider such bright-colored, everyday woolen garments as fit only for the fields; on Sunday they don their best and go calling on their neighbors. This type of handmade wooden plow is used only in the mountain districts, where the turf is of little depth.

Red or scarlet is ordinarily the color of youth and, with bright blue, is utilized in nearly every variation of costume. There are other colors that have special significance when worn in certain ways, as, for instance, in Desulo a purple border appearing on an apron signifies that the wearer has lost her parents. In some communities if a woman is widowed she must forever forswear the use of scarlet, even though she marry again.

The men of Sardinia also have an interesting heritage of costumes which, while they differ with locality like the women's, show fewer marked variations. Generally speaking, a man wears knee-length or longer, bell-shaped, baggy trousers of white and either leggings of coarse serge or high spats.

Over a white shirt is worn a gayly colored vest, sometimes closed to the neck, sometimes a cutaway, and over this a small doublet.

Around the masculine waist is often wound a Turkish sash, which in ancient times was used to carry a dagger, but now conceals nothing more deadly than a pipe.

The Sard confines his hair beneath a little black skullcap, over which he wears a regular Sardinian cap-a narrow cloth bag, closely resembling the old American stocking-cap-which, in addition to being a head covering, serves as a lunch bag and valise in the daytime and as a pillow at night (see Color Plates I, VI, and VIII).

Many villagers also wear the ragas, a peculiar sort of short overskirt not unlike a Scotch kilt (Plate II), or a pair of short, balloonlike top trousers that extend only to the middle of the thigh (Plate VIII).

The shepherds of such villages as Fonni (from the Phoenician word phanna, meaning "elevated view") wear the mastruca, a sleeveless fleecy sheepskin jacket. Gun, pipe, and bandoleer are carried as inseparable companions.

The Sards are a brave, hardy, libertyloving people, whose history has been one long and continuous struggle for existence against alien peoples that have so repeatedly assailed their shores. This bitter experience has served to accentuate and develop their native qualities, and the Sardinian soldiers who fought for Italy in the World War well demonstrated their courage and the ability of their race to endure hardships and privations.

Although these people have maintained their individuality in the face of great oppression, they could not but feel the influence and bear some of the impress of the many races that have occupied their island in the last 25 centuries. Italian, Spanish, and Saracenic influences are all to be found in their costumes.

Probably as early as 500 B. C. there is record of the presence of Phoenician settlers in Sardinia, and Carthage maintained her sovereignty over the island until 238 B. C., when the proud mistress of North Africa had to bow to the superior power of Rome and her insular possession was declared a Roman province.



But Rome never quite succeeded in subjugating the Sards, for the mountain dwellers of the Barbagia at that early date gave evidence of the same spirit of independence which has ever since been one of their cardinal characteristics. An unending guerrilla warfare was waged against the legions of the Cæsars. Many of the natives were slaughtered and many more were enslaved and sent to Rome, but never were they wholly subdued. Indeed, so refractory were they in servitude that their Roman masters were glad to be rid of them, and the expression "Sards for sale" became a byword.

Following the dispossession of the Romans, the island was overrun in turn by Vandals, Saracens, Pisans, Genoese, and later by the armies of Aragon, Austria, and Savoy, until finally, during the latter part of the last century, the land became an integral part of the united kingdom of Italy.

Development of natural resources will bring to the Sards material prosperity, but it will at the same time mark the beginning of the end of that picturesque remoteness that has been theirs.

The beautiful costumes that have distinguished the island are here reproduced as a valuable historic record through the medium of natural-color plates, made with rare artistic perception by Col. Luigi Pellerano. They cannot much longer resist the advance of modern styles, but will soon join their counterparts in other lands as colorful memories of the past, to be seen only in museums.

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