Dodo - (17 left)
The flightless, turkey-sized dodo was regarded as a great curiosity by the early 17th century visitors to Mauritius as they sailed in the Indian Ocean. A number of the strange birds were shipped alive to Europe but they were reported as being clumsy and stupid and were slaughtered in large numbers by sailors who visited Mauritius. They were known to be rare by 1640, and the last dodo was dead by 1670. The only complete stuffed dodo was kept in Oxford, but this was destroyed in a fire in 1755. We know what the dodo looked like: there are several drawings, a head and foot were saved from the fire and skeletons have been reconstructed from bones dug up in the 19th century. Alfred Waterhouse, the 19th century architect of London’s Natural History Museum, designed a wonderful range of decorative bas relief panels which can still be seen both inside and outside the museum. Sadly, the tile represents the tragic effect of mankind’s thoughtless treatment of the natural world. Though it has been brought back to life in the animated Ice Age films.
This wall hanging would make a great present for all nature lovers – and perhaps for younger people to remind them of this story and to inspire them to care for our earth and its fragile ecology.
Fixing Points: the two holes in the tile
Dimensions: 10cm x 10.2cm