Boxers - Mont'e Prama

Boxers The statues of the boxers convey the impression of strong, stocky men.
They are shown bare-chested and they wear only a loincloth with a point to the rear.
THE BODY
In their left hand they hold over their head a rectangular shield with blunt angles. The right arm is stretched out and bent at right angles; the forearm and fist are protected by a sort of glove with a projecting point, which was probably the arm of ritual combat. THE WEAPONS THE FACE In two of these statues, the face is perfectly preserved: it follows the “T-shape” geometric pattern with brow and large round eyes with double circle. VIEW THE 3D MODELS The calves are well marked, as is the shinbone, the thighs are strong and short relative to the trunk. THE LEGS

Boxers

Bronze figurine showing a boxer. Dorgali, Cala Gonone.

The boxers covering their heads with their shields make up the largest number of reconstructed statues, although in varying states of conservation.
In this case too, the bronze figurines have been of help in reassembling the statues, although interpretation of this design is not simple and at times uncertain.
Based on the most complete statues, we can easily reconstruct the prototype of the boxer.

The statues of the boxers convey the impression of strong, stocky men. They are shown bare-chested and they wear only a loincloth with a point to the rear. In their left hand they hold over their head a rectangular shield with blunt angles. The right arm is stretched out and bent at right angles; the forearm and fist are protected by a sort of glove with a projecting point, which was probably the arm of ritual combat. This detail is not visible on the recomposed statues, but only on some fragments which could not be matched with a figure.

The forms of representation

He is shown as a bare-chested man with a powerful body, holding over his head a rectangular shield with rounded edges. His right arm is protected by an arm guard ending at the fist with a tip and he wears only a loincloth with a point to the rear, held up by a band with overlapping flaps at the front, while on the back it becomes larger with a W-shaped design. The details of this garb are shown with great care. The statue rests firmly on bare feet set on a rectangular base. The calves are well marked, as is the shinbone, depicted in a clear and angular manner; the thighs are strong and short relative to the trunk. These statues convey the idea of robust, stocky men.

In two statues the face is perfectly preserved. This makes it possible for us to appreciate its flat triangular form with chin cutting horizontally, with the “T” shape formed by nose and brow and the large round eyes with double circle. The mouth is marked by a narrow engraved line; the ears are semi-circular in shape and hollowed in the centre. The face is surrounded by narrow plaits of hair reaching down to the chest.

Close up view of the statue of a boxer known as ‘Fastigiadu’, on show at the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari.
The head and shield of the statue of a boxer known as ‘Efis’, clearly visible are the details of the ribbing of the shield. This statue is on show at the Giovanni Marongiu civic museum of Cabras.
Profile of the statue of a boxer known as ‘Fastigiadu’ on show at the National archaeological museum of Cagliari.
The head of the statue of a boxer known as ‘Sisinnio’ on show at the National archaeological museum of Cagliari.
Close up of the face of the statue of a boxer known as ‘Sisinnio’ on show at the National archaeological museum of Cagliari.
Detail of the ankle of the statue of a boxer known as 'Lussurgiu', extremely stylish is the band decorating the leg guard. This statue is on show at the National archaeological museum of Cagliari.
The legs and kilt with a point to the rear, held by a band with overlapping flaps to the front, of the statue of a boxer known as ‘Crabarissu’. This statue is on show at the National archaeological museum of Cagliari.
Boxers, warriors or athletes?
This type of figure is known conventionally as ‘boxer’ although its actual interpretation is still uncertain.
Some scholars consider them lightly-armed warriors, equipped for close combat: striking with the sheathed arm and protecting themselves with their shields.
Others see them as athletes competing in sacred, bloody games in honour either of the divinity or of the dead: the boxers would thus be linked to sacred rituals.
A new iconography of a boxer
In the excavation campaign carried out in 2014 archaeologists found two statues showing a different “boxer” subject: the right arm is not held high with the fist resting on the shield, but is held horizontally across the chest; the shield is not semi-cylindrical and with rounded edges and held above the head, but it is held by the left arm vertically along the body and has a great fold which in part protects the body. Lastly, the feet have sandals and are not bare.

This discovery is exceptional as a sign of a new iconography among the statues, which is also very rare among the bronze figurines. Only one Nuragic bronze statuette with similar iconography is known.
This is the bronze figurine from the tomb of Cavalupo at Vulci, in the Lazio region, dating from the 9th century BC, which in the past had been interpreted as representing a priest.
Bronze figurine from the tomb of Cavalupo at Vulci
One of the two statues of boxers found during the excavation campaign of 2014 and on show at the Giovanni Marongiu civic museum of Cabras.
Detail of the shield handgrip of one of the two statues of boxers found during the excavation campaign of 2014. This statue is on show at the Giovanni Marongiu civic museum of Cabras.
One of the two statues of boxers, still undergoing restoration, found during the excavation campaign of 2014. This statue is on show at the Giovanni Marongiu civic museum of Cabras.
The boxers in 3D