Boes, Merdules and Filonzana

In the famous Ottana carnival, these three figures, closely interconnected, dance in the pantomime in which Boe and Merdule compete trying to prevail over each other.

The Boe represents the wild force of Nature, which does not follow any human rules. La Carazza, a bull mask made of pear wood, is sculpted with decorations and ornaments, including the typical three-pointed star on the forehead and green leaves on the cheeks. The Boe wears a full-bodied white sheepskin fleece and a leather shoulder strap, su erru, with a bunch of iron cowbells that can weigh up to 30 kg, is sonazzos.

The Merdule, whose name is supposed to mean Master of the Ox, is the human face of reason that wants to tame the brutal instinct of the beast, with the risk of seeing his will overwhelmed, transforming himself into a savage being. He wears an anthropomorphic mask of dark wood, with barely sketched caricature features.

He too wears sheepskin, and wears a typical black handkerchief around his head su mucadore. With his wooden staff and a leather rope he tries to submit the attacking and retreating Boe, rebelling against the yoke. Their clumsy fight, ferocious, sometimes comical takes place between the screams and the sound of cowbells. Often it involves the crowd watching, who must be careful not to be overwhelmed.

The Filonzana is the only female figure of the Carnival and once she only went out on Tuesdays. She wears the same mask as the Merdule, because traditionally women could not participate in the parade, but she wears the clothes of a hunched old woman who follows the fight between the two while waiting to sentence the defeated Boe to death.
She holds in her hand a spool wrapped with a woolen thread and wears scissors around her neck, with which she threatens the onlookers to cut the thread that keeps them alive, especially if they refuse to offer her a glass of wine.
This figure is often associated with the Greek and Roman Fates or Moiras, who wove the thread of man’s life, giving him a destiny and cutting it when his time was coming.

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