Traces of the ancient cults of the archaic Mediterranean, where the cult of fertility is rooted, are apparent in the Merdules masks. In general, the name “Merdules” refers to all the masks from Ottana. The true “Merdule” wears the human mask, it is speculated that the name (it is only a hypothesis) has Nuragic origins: mere = master and ule = ox; thus “Owner of the Ox”.
“Sos boes” wear the oxen mask with decorated and embellished with a chisel and knife; the figure of the bull, the ancient Punic- Nuragic deity, symbol of the life force is always present in civilizations of the entire Mediterranean basin, “su boe” represents the animal rebelling against its master. Initially its measured steps give a particular rhythm to the cowbells but then it creates havoc among the people, and it charges against the Merdule, its master and trainer that with his stick “su Mazuccu” or with a leather whip “sa Soca”, tries to restore order.
Both the “boes” and the “merdules” wear sheepskins with full fleece and wear wooden masks on their faces carved from wild pear wood called Carazzas (in Sardinian, “cara” means face). The “boes” carry a dense cluster of cowbells on their shoulder, called “sas sonazzas” or “erru”, the “merdules” unlike the “boes”, do not wear cowbells.
There is also a female figure “sa filonzana“, which is a sad-looking woman spinning wool with a spindle.