Cockatoo: A gift from Sultan of Egypt: Oldest European depiction of a bird

The cockatoo depicted in Holy Emperor Frederick II’s 13-century guide was most likely a present from the sultan of Egypt. Composite: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana/Sanae Matsushita/Guardian

Images of cockatoo on 13th-century Vatican manuscript inspire trade route rethink: Holy Emperor’s falconry guide shows the oldest known European depiction of the bird

On the margins of a 13th-century manuscript written by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, are more than 900 illustrations of birds and falconers. Among the usual hawks, herons, and sparrows familiar to European readers are four sketches of a bird from further afield – an Australasian cockatoo.

The images are believed to be the oldest European depiction of the bird, trumping a similar discovery in a 15th-century artwork, and have sparked a reassessment of trading routes that existed more than 700 years ago.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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