The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

A hand-some medieval bat

Medieval illustration of a black bat with many hands

According to superstition, if you rub the blood of a bat on your face you’ll be able to see at night. But if you use this bat, you’ll also get more hand-some.

Never too cool for a good pun.

I love this quirky little bat with his many hands. It comes from The Art of Falconry (De Arte Venandi Cum Avibus), a Latin ornithology book originally published in 1241 by Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor from 1196-1250. More than 900 miniature illustrations of birds and other creatures decorate the margins of this remarkable book.

The original 13th century book is in the Vatican library collection, but it was republished in French around 1300, which is where this little bat comes from (folio 75v).

Open book with bird illustrations in the margins.
Modern facsimile of The Art of Falconry by Frederick II, produced by Ziereis Facsimiles.

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