The European history never ceases to surprise me. Based on the information presented at the museum of Schloss Hellbrunn. I found out how some 17th century Europeans entertained themselves with their animals. During the annual Salzburg Carnival, which incorporated elements from Venice,
1. bulls and bears were hunted to death.
2. geese were beheaded. According to the following placard, “[i]n 1613, members of the Court, on the horseback and armed with sabres, tried to cut the heads off suspended geese. In 1616, servants had to strike at geese blindfolded.”
3. pigs were beaten and slain in play. For a reconstructed scene, watch the video (attached above) at 00:36-01:20 and 02:17-02:30.
4. cats were trapped in boxes and their tails were tied to the keyboard to play the piano. To quote the placard for the following picture, “[t]his reconstruction shows a cat piano, an instrument that was used in the 1618 parade in Salzburg. There is no known pictorial representation from the 17th cnetury. Living cats were confined in boxes and their tails maltreated using a keyboard (piano) with sharp metal spikes. The ‘music’ threfore consisted of the howling of the cats.” For a reconstructed scene, watch the attached video at 02:56-03:26.
The commentator on the audioguide reminded us that our [I think he meant “the modern European”] standard toward the animals is different from the previous standard. I wonder since when the attitude change has begun in Europe.
Despite the aforementioned dark history, I am still impressed with the ingenious trick fountains at Schloss Hellbrunn. Human kindness and ingenuity sometimes just don’t march together, right? 😉