Sardinian rug-making has ancient origins and represents the largest and most important segment of all the handicraft production of the island. Rugs are mainly produced for use as wedding chest covers.
The decorative elementsof the chest covers are dominated by the motif of an eight-pointed flower, with four pistils that extend to the centre of the adjacent flowers. This motif is repeated over the entire surface of the piece, and the motif is closed at both the top and bottom by two designs with stylised animals or heraldic emblems. Another characteristic element is stylised coral, also repeated on the weft of lace. Other rugs have crosswise patterns repeated over the entire breath of the rug, with aligned decorative motifs representing birds or female figures.
In the zone of Sassari and all the northern part of the island, the rugs differ from the other local areas of Sardinia. Here, animal motifs are rarely used, giving way to more sumptuous decorations, with spirals in large sections that extend vertically for the entire rug. At the centre of the composition are peacocks and imaginary animals, while the whole is enclosed by rich decoration around the four sides of the rectangle. Sardinian rugs rarely have a central section with no decorative elements; indeed, one of the most outstanding characteristics of the Sardinian chest cover is the adornment and decoration of the entire piece, as if it were a tapestry.
The blankets use a freer decorative scheme than that of the chest covers, and they are simpler and less vivacious. In the zone of Sassari, blankets are generally made with knotted thick wool, with a bas-relief effect; the decorative scheme is similar to that of the rugs made in the same area, with few shades of colour obtained using vegetal pigments. Sardinian lace has a particular character that distinguishes it from other products of its type. It often has simple decorative motifs taken from the local flora and fauna, or the same kinds of motifs used on chest covers and blankets.
Lace production varies from zone to zone, with common techniques but different motifs that constitute the style of a given school. The continuous repetition of the motifs characterises Sardinian lace with respect to that of other regions. Embroidery is another artisan activity typical of Sardinia, with a variety of decorative motifs embroidered on fabric, richer than that which is found on the rugs.