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Catalog Number 1975.236.011
Description c. 1890 Carretto Siciliano (Sicilian Donkey Cart). Sicilian pony cart has two wheels. Wood is highly carved and very ornate. Underside of carriage is highly decorated hand-painted iron. Entire cart is painted with figures and images of various colors throughout.
Object Name Cart, Pony
Collection 3D - Land Transportation Tools & Equipment
Title c. 1890 Carretto Siciliano (Sicilian Donkey Cart)
Date c. 1890
Creator Unknown
Provenance From the Holbrook-Palmer Collection of the Town of Atherton.
Notes [] Nothing represents Sicily’s culture more vividly than the exquisitely carved and painted cart. When the first roads were created in Sicily in the early 19th century, so began the colorful history of the Sicilian donkey cart, which were used to transport people, produce, wine and virtually anything else that needed transporting. The carts were marvels of engineering and art, generally consisting of some 60 parts, all handcrafted by cartwrights, woodworkers, painters, ironsmiths and other skilled artisans. The creators passionately carved and painted elaborate scenes from history, often celebrating the exploits of Charlemagne’s knights or depicting scenes from famous operas like I Pagliacci. Carts reached the height of their popularity in the 1920s, when many thousand were on the island. Miniature carts, or Carrettino Siciliano, are often sold in Sicily (or in Italian shops and restaurants in other countries) as souvenirs. The Sicilian Carretto is made in several provinces in Sicily each with their own style. Carretti made in the province of Palermo have more of a square box design, those made in Catania are made with more elaborate ‘keys’, and then there are the carts made in Agrigento which have their own distinctive style
Arguably, some of the most acclaimed cart painters of the last century are the Ducato Brothers of Bagheria, near Palermo. Three years ago, at age 80, Giuseppe Ducato was quoted as having painted the cart that now sits in Epcot. Ducato and his son are among the few artisans still producing this dying art. The art and craft of cart building has diminished greatly, beginning during the 1950s when motorized vehicles became abundant and eventually replaced the donkey cart as a means of transportation. Today, they can often be seen in local parades and celebrations.

This carriage currently in storage and not available for viewing.
Dimensions H-44 W-51 D-85 inches
Search Terms Holbrook-Palmer
Horse Drawn Vehicles
Subjects Carriages & coaches
People Holbrook-Palmer, Olive