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‏‏‎ Bartizan depicting a rhinoceros

Francisco Arruda16th century

Tower of Belém

Tower of Belém
Lisbon, Portugal

This is possibly a sculpture of a rhinoceros given to Afonso de Albuquerque in 1514. Albuquerque was the founder of the Portuguese Empire in the Orient and Portuguese Governor for the Sultanate of Muzafar.

As it was impossible for him to keep the animal in Goa, Albuquerque decided to send the rhinoceros as a gift to Manuel I. The animal's arrival in Lisbon caused great commotion and curiosity, not only in Portugal but throughout Europe.

As well as featuring on the bartizans of the Tower of Belém, this rhinoceros can also be found in the Alcobaça Monastery where there’s a gargoyle of the animal in the Cloister of Silence. The rhinoceros was also drawn by the German master painter and printer Albrecht Dürer, whose drawing was based on a picture included in a letter from a Portuguese merchant.

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  • Title: ‏‏‎ Bartizan depicting a rhinoceros
  • Creator: Francisco Arruda
  • Date Created: 16th century, 16th century
  • Location Created: Torre de Belém
  • Rights: DGPC/ADF - Luis Pavão

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