A Model of an Ostrich, German, mid-18th Century.

The body of the ostrich is formed from an ostrich egg, whilst the detachable head and neck are of Meissen porcelain.

This would have been collected as an extravagantly mounted curiosity and probably used as a table decoration. The silver base bears the town mark of Augsburg,

Ostriches are native to Africa and have been hunted for food, their feathers and their skins since ancient times. In the West, they have always been regarded as exotic curiosities and feature largely in heraldry and legend.

In the Middle Ages it was believed that ostriches were able to digest and take nutrition from any substance, including stone and iron. The horseshoe that this bird carries symbolises this myth, which persisted into the 18th Century.


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