Sardinia, Part II: Rocking Around the Island

Uomo Moderno Magazine

Saturday August 29, 2015

Four thousand years ago, Sardinian tribes dwelt in intricate networks of honeycomb structures that surrounded a truncated cone-shaped tower. Out of the original thirty thousand, seven thousand still stand today.

Masters of architecture and engineering, the inhabitants of these "Nuraghi" were cast eternally in bronze: the bronzetti - "bronze statuettes" that reveal not only the life and times of these ancient people but also their impeccable sense of dress.

In her book entitled "Il Popolo di Bronzo" ("The People of Bronze"), Angela DeMontis describes to minute detail how Nuraghic men knew how to rock some styles - literally!

Born into a family of artists, Angela now lives and works in Cagliari. Father: a cartoonist-painter. Mother: a ceramist-sculptor. From an early age Angela Demontis gleaned the technics of design, painting, and ceramics from her parents, who often accompanied her to the museum of archeology.

Her romance with the bronzetti ignited upon their first encounter. These bronze statuettes of the Nuraghic people, who inhabited Sardinia four thousand years ago, were impeccably dressed!

More advanced in fashion than their Mediterranean contemporaries, Nuraghic men sported trousers, jackets with sleeves and hoodies, gloves, handbags, and berets (the ancestor of the Sardinian beritta). Angela told Uomo Moderno Magazine:

"Menswear was simple and sober; however, one can note a touch of vanity, especially with the attention to detail like fringes and tassels. Belts and decorative scarves gave a certain tone of elegance to the dress.

"Nuraghic men even cared about hairstyles, gathering their hair in two to four long braids or keeping it very short, almost shaved with decorative designs. Their styling was refined, fashionable, and rich in accessories - in this refinement I find a certain affinity with men's fashion today.

"They have really changed my life! Researching the materials, colors, and production techniques, I was able to reconstruct life-size costumes of 10 Nuraghic figures. The educational exhibition, which I named The People of Bronze, stems from the book of the same name that I published in 2005. For the past three years, we have made 25 stops between Sardinia and northern Italy with great success among the public and critics.

"The People of Bronze have granted me the privilege to be acquainted with my ancestors as I went through all the practical stages of production for the various garments, together with the valuable help of skilled craftsmen.

"I personally cut and sewed by hand all the clothes and cloaks, applied the fringe one by one, and stitched hard leather to create the armor with ancient techniques. It was an exhausting but equally wonderful experience of experimental archeology that has certainly enriched my soul."

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