Votive boats


The little votive bronze boats represent one of the more significant features of
the bronze statuettes coming from the last phase of Sardinian prehistory (XII-IX
BC) that show us in a figurative way the society of the time (the home, the female
figures, the animals and their labor, the warriors, “il nuraghe”…).
More than seventy of these samples were found in Sardinia and also in the
Italian peninsula (Toscana and Lazio).
The models depict realistic boats with bestial heads on the prow, likely in order
to obstruct the evil spirits of the sea.
On one hand these boats portray the ordinary characteristics of sailing from
which they were inspired, and on the other, they convey a fantastical integration of
naturalistic and schematic forms, becoming a refined and unique artifice.
As discussed in La Sardegna preistorica e nuragica by E. Contu, not only did
the Nuragic people leave behind a much larger variety of little boat models than
either the Phoenicians or the Greeks, but an illustraction of a Nuragic boat was
discovered on a Mycenaean vase (Mic III c) coming from Skiros island in Aegeus:
proof of not only that by the XII century BC, the Nuragic people were familiar with
the sea, but that this familiarity was widely known.

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