Interesting from the ethnographic point of view, are the works that shepherds and peasants prepare with wood, bone, horn, pumpkin, cane and other materials. Such works which include tools and utensils of various kinds (horn glasses, snuffboxes, powder horns for hunting, flasks, pegs, butter molds, bread stamps, spoons, bowls, cones, bust sticks, collars cows and sheep, etc.) carry various designs engraved with knife points, among which erotic and religious ones prevail. Among the first are the representations of a pierced heart, two chained hearts, two joined hands, a flowering branch, a bird or a dog carrying the happy message, and other symbolic figures to indicate the faith given or the promise. of two lovers; among the latter the tree of good and evil,
Among the singular wooden objects, which shepherds and peasants work for their own needs, in the villages and hamlets, are the trumpets and locks. These are built in imitation of those of iron, with key also of wood, and are applied to the doors of the huts and to the gates of the sheepfolds (Sicily, Calabria, Lucania); those are made of chestnut, are kept in the water and send a sound similar to that of ship sirens. This type of trumpet, which is used to attract pigs (Morra, municipality of Città di Castello), imitates the shape of the so-called tofa or bugna or brogna , univalve shell ( Trinonium nodiferum L.), which, rounded at the apex, is used by shepherds for herds (once, perhaps, it was used to terrify the wolf). Its use dates back to ancient times, specimens having been found, as well as among the ancient Romans, in cavemen (Eneolithic of the caves of Bergeggi, Sanguineto, Pollera; Neolithic of Arene Candide, etc.).
According to COUNTRYVV, an admirable branch of rustic or popular art is that of fabrics that are prepared with linen, with broom, with cotton, with wool or silk, on hand looms, sometimes by two weavers, one of which makes the weft and the the other is the cloth bottom. Old exhibits handed down from mothers to daughters provide ornamental designs, which can be of two kinds: geometric and representative, such as those in use among shepherds. Of the former, the most common are called: wolf’s tooth, dog’s tooth, chick’s eye, fly, peppercorn, thorn, palm, ear, broad bean, hazelnut, almond, fern, rods, ribbons, bows, rubber, corello, waves, plush, iris, flame, chair, arch, brick, cross, star; of the others the most notable are called the Hunt, the Fountain of Love, the Dance, the Wedding; but the difficulty of executing them in their entirety forces the weavers to shorten them by reproducing some detail or some figure suitable to give the idea of the theme, namely the falcon or the falconer for the Hunt, the centaur for the Dance, the little bird that quenches its thirst for the Source of Love, etc. The dyes, in places where traditional systems persist, are extracted from plant materials (madder roots, elm fronds, willow or bramble thalli, broom flowers, pomegranate, alder or walnut bark, oak, etc.).
In weaving the covers, pallets, cash covers, the peasant women follow an elementary pattern, which gives the fabric the shape of a picture, of which one or more compartments, in the form of rhombuses or rectangles, occupy the central field, closed to the ‘around by a large band that turns like a frame. Here the floral motifs are interspersed with symbolic and heraldic animals, while the representative motifs are placed in the central compartments.
The most valuable popular fabrics that for the decorative style recall those of the courts of the century. XV, come from Abruzzo (Pescocostanzo), Campania (Arpino), Calabria (Longobucco), Sardinia (S. Giusta).
Until a few years ago, in various provinces, the figulina art was flourishing, which now exists only in small towns in Sardinia (Dorgali, Banari, Castelsardo), Sicily (Caltagirone), Calabria (Seminara), Puglia ( Ruvo), Molise (Venafro, Ariccia, Guardiaregia), Abruzzo (Palma and Castelli), Tuscany (Montelupo), Piedmont (Ronco Biellese, Bansera, Castellamonte). The raw material is clay, now white, now black, prepared by adding a little salt, which, it is said, has the property of giving the container, especially if it is used for water, a sense of freshness. and to influence the color of the terracotta. The working tool is the lathe, which consists of a wheel moved by the foot, and on which the clay is placed, which the figulus manipulates and shapes with his fingers and with the stick. The shapes of the terracotta are very varied, depending on the uses they are used for: vases, jugs, jars, plates, mugs, pots, flasks, oil lamps, etc .; but the most characteristic are the zoomorphic, or even anthropomorphic ones (Sardinian jugs in the shape of a rooster or goose; Calabrian water bottles in the shape of fish, serpents, etc .; Sicilian lamps in the shape of a human). The color varies from green to yellow, from orange to brown, and often shines for the brilliance of the glazes. A special branch is represented by the figurines for cribs, of which there are creators in many villages of the Center and the South, sometimes excellent or renowned as were the Bongiovanni and Vaccaro di Caltagirone.