This Sicilian cart or Carretti was one of the pieces in the collection. It never had the wheels attached to it. We really have no idea what year it was made or who the artist is. From other carts weve seen and from the square nuts we would guess anywhere between 1890 to 1910.
It has the obvious signs of wear for something that is 120+ years old but is a VERY RARE piece of art. It has hand carved heads and various writing all over it.24 wide, 26 tall , and 51 long. This is an original carretti (traditional horse or donkey-drawn carts), which are an integral facet of Sicilys anthropology and iconography. Ornate illustrations decorating the carts depicted historic events, literary works and religious subjects, serving as an important means of transmitting knowledge and culture (in addition to physical goods) to an often illiterate population. The carts were introduced to Sicily by the ancient Greeks. Carts reached the height of their popularity in the 1920s, when many thousand were on the island.
The Museo del Carretto Siciliano, in Terrasini, in the province of Palermo, is a museum dedicated to the carts. Sicilian wood carver, George Petralia states, that horses were mostly used in the city and flat plains, while donkeys or mules were more often used in rough terrain for hauling heavy loads. The cart has two wheels and is primarily handmade out of wood with iron metal components.
Carts called "Carretto da Lavoro" (cart for work) are used for hauling miscellaneous light loads, such as produce, wood, wine, and people, and Carretto da Gara' are carts for festive occasions such as weddings and parade. The Carretto is like the'taxi' or'truck' of today. Some insist that after the decline of the Roman Empire the roads in Sicily were left to ruin and fell apart, not allowing small horse, mule or donkey carts to be used on roads between towns and villages--until the "early 1800s" when de Nervo wrote about them and drew attention to them. Just as Columbus "discovered" America--it was always there, with Native Americans before Europeans even knew about it.It's the same with these carts... More than likely, they were in Sicily for many hundreds or even thousands of years. Wherever you go in Italy, it's amazing to see how ancient donkey paths have been lovingly and beautifully maintained over the course of history. They are still used on a daily basis--a necessity, since most of the towns throughout Italy are up on rugged hilltops, with many homes clinging to the side of cliffs. These paths link house to village and village to towns, and are definitely wide enough for donkey carts.
Even though Carretto are pulled mostly by horses or large mules nowadays, if you look carefully at the two wooden shafts that the horses are attached to, you will notice in most cases (especially with vintage carts) they are mounted to the horse in an upward angle. This is because the carts were originally designed for use with donkeys--a much shorter animal more suited to the switchbacks common on donkey paths. Sorry but only local pick-up here in San Diego. The item "Rare Sicilian original Carretti donkey cart chest hand painted/carved" is in sale since Saturday, April 13, 2019. This item is in the category "Antiques\Other Antiques".
The seller is "koolart" and is located in San Diego, California. This item can't be shipped, the buyer must pick up the item.