U vastuni di Don Alfio
Description by the artist
“Chissu, cari amici miei, è U vastuni di Don Alfio, u briganti delle Aci” (Sicilian for “This, my dear friends, is Don Alfio’s cane, the brigand of the Aci”). My beloved canes are decorated with typical scenes of the Sicilian cart and with fruits, flowers, colors and various beauties of our wonderful beautiful Sicily! They are made of wild olive wood (agghiastru in Sicilian), collected and worked by my hands, in our countryside, among the scent of our flowers and the sky of our land.
Details and dimensions
The artwork in the Sicilian culture
The origins of the Sicilian cane remain shrouded in mystery in a range that goes from 1200 to 1600. The cane was used by shepherds both as a support and as a weapon of defense from wolves. Subsequently used during the Spanish domination as an offensive weapon (used in the cumarche, that is in the provinces). Made of wild olive wood (agghiastru in Sicilian) and bitter almond wood (rarely of “minicucco” wood, that is Etna’s bagolaro Celtis australis). The branch is harvested during winter, in the period from December to February, when the tree “sta dummennu” (sicilian for sleeping), in order to avoid flowering; this positively affects the yield. The lunar phase is also important, it is harvested during the waning moon. The treatment of the branch is exclusively natural with olive oil (no synthetic impregnants).
(photo) Old Sicilian man in Gangi, 1928