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FROM AND TO MATERA

LOCAL HANDICRAFTS
IN THE SASSI OF MATERA

Shuttle Matera

by Made in South of Italy

Local craftsmanship in the Sassi di Matera

The objects used by our ancestors for work, in everyday life or in playful moments are a great cultural heritage today reproduced in ceramics, tuff or terracotta by the various artisans who have made "the art of the shepherds" of the past, their own style of work.

The skilful use of the hands in shaping hostile materials such as iron, wood, ceramics or terracotta has been handed down to the present day giving us the emotions of a time.

In some of these workshops, located along the streets of Matera and Rioni Sassi, were also collected in a museum and exhibited the objects that once surrounded the daily life or work of our ancestors.

Special thanks to "Il bottegaccio" by Mario Daddiego for the fantastic images donated.

The cucù ("a ciola-ciol")

Sassi di Matera il cucù

Symbol of love....... and much more. Whistles have always had a big superstitious value. Once they were walled in chimneys or placed in cots of newborns not yet baptized to ward off evil spirits. The sons received one as a gift, at an early age, as a wish for future fertility. For each place it had a decoration and different shapes to distinguish its traditional whistle. In the Sassi of Matera was called CUCU' (a "ciola ciol") and was built with a stylized form of a rooster with a generally bitonal color.

Once it was given to children on Easter Monday but, according to another tradition, it was the symbol of a promise of love. The more the cuckoo was decorated, the greater the promise. Our cuckoo was therefore not only a noisy and decorated toy but also a symbol laden with meaning.

The stamps of the bread ("U' tumbr du'pp'en")

The stamp of the bread was used to mark the bread worked in every house and baked in the common oven.

Today it is rightly considered "the emblematic object of Lucanian handicraft production", as a symbol of that wonderful and irresistible microcosm of the neighborhood with its organize the economy of daily life, for a long passage of centuries.

Sassi di Matera timbro del pane

The dolls ("u p'ip")

Sassi di Matera

The art of the shepherds of materano, which is part of the great trend of popular art, is always inextricably linked to the needs of life. The shepherds carved pieces of wood with objects of fortune, to produce tools, games for children or matrices. Our babe is the fruit of pastoral ingenuity.

In the wooden matrix, in fact, the "caciocavallo" was poured. Once dried the cheese was used either to decorate the tables on holidays or as a toy for children so that they could safely chew or ingest the product. A simple idea with a double function: strengthen the gums of children with the crust and nourish them by strengthening the bones with the calcium contained in the cheese.

The dress of the doll, currently reproduced the terracotta, is decorated with the most disparate colors echoing the popular tradition that saw our women wear, for economic reasons, everything that was new in the house, hence the name of tacky

The "trottola" ("u' strimml")

La trottola era un giocattolo molto semplice nella sua realizzazione ma molto difficile come gioco. E' costituito da una trottola in legno decorata con degli intagli trasversali, lungo tutta la parte conica, e con, all'interno, un puntale in ferro che serviva per far ruotare la trottola e bilanciarla. La trottola era un giocattolo molto semplice nella sua realizzazione ma molto difficile come gioco. 

E' costituito da una trottola in legno decorata con degli intagli trasversali, lungo tutta la parte conica, e con, all'interno, un puntale in ferro che serviva per far ruotare la trottola e bilanciarla. Per farlo ruotare occorreva avvolgere una corda intorno agli intagli e inserire un nodo della parte finale della corda tra l'indice e il medio.

The game consisted of spinning the top by throwing it and unrolling the rope and then raising it on the palm of the hand still spinning and throwing it against the top of the other player to make it bounce away. For those who lost the pledge was also to get hit their top with the iron tip of the opposing top. In this way the spinning top was weakened and sometimes destroyed irreparably. This toy was also used in other regions. Here is an example in the video of how to play in Calabria

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