lørdag den 4. august 2012

A beast of a bezoar

This little piece of writing is perhaps not so much a matter of cryptozzology as a piece of magic - or at least pertaining to magic. Quite a lot of us have read the Harry Potter books and have read the famous scene where Harry saves a poisoned Ron Weazley by shoving a bezoar down his throat. Now, I have always imagined bezoars, which are "stones" that forms in the stomach of goats and various other cloven-hoofed animals, to be rather small, and indeed in the Harry Potter stories that's exactly what they are, so imagine my surprise, when leafing through an old book about daily life in Denmark in olden days, I came across this picture.
This is a mighty whopper of a bezoar - in fact it is almost as big as an ostrich egg. It has been mounted in silver in Amsterdam sometime in the early 1600's. It can now be found in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. For now you have to make do with this old b/w photo of it. It is still in the museum's collections (I've checked) but it is not currently on display. I have requested permission to see and photograph it, and hopefully obtain some better quality photographs sometime during this autum. It may not be obvious from the picture, but the bezoar has actually been hollowed out and mounted as a drinking vessel. As Harry Potter so clearly tells us, bezoars can, or were at least believed to, neutralize any form of poison, so a drinking vessel made of a bezoar would protect any king or noble lord against any attempt on their life using poison. Well worth the investment one would imagine.

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