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The ox in the Tuscan agricultural world

The ox were true machines for work.

The ox in the Tuscan agricultural world


In Tuscan farming life, oxen were true machines for work and were not eaten unless they could no longer plough or pull carts. In fact for Tuscan farmers their oxen were an excuse to show off. Every visit to a farm required a look into the stalls where livestock and prices were discussed. The animals' feet were an object of particular attention, starting from the shoeing. In the case of sprains, a poultice of egg white was applied to the painful limb.
At other times a bramble was wound around the bandage and the animal kept still until the bramble fell off (in other words, when the swelling went down). For inflammation of the neck caused by the weight of the yoke, a liquid based on elm bark was applied to the hurt area. To protect the oxen from the evil eye, red bows were attached to the horns.

At Talentano near Bolsena a special ceremony was held on the Feast of the Assumption (15 th August), during which a long furrow was dug in a large, flat area using a pair of oxen: the legacy of a pagan propitiatory ritual of harvest thanksgiving assimilated into the feast of Mary's Assumption.

In certain areas on the border between the Marches and Tuscany the ox yoke was considered sacred, and when no longer serviceable, it was buried but never burned. Anyone doing so would suffer prolonged agony before dying.



Oxen with the typical red coloured harness against the evil eye

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