Following in Hansken's Footsteps
€ 14,95 € 7,90
Elephants used to be a great rarity in Europe: there were only a few elephants in the continent in the entire seventeenth century. Hansken, a female elephant who was born on the island of Sri Lanka and arrived in Amsterdam in the summer of 1633, is the most famous ? and not just because Rembrandt drew her. Cornelis van Groenevelt, Hansken’s owner, earned a handsome living by teaching her tricks and touring the continent with her. Wherever she went, Hansken evoked amazement and admiration. People examined her, measured her and wrote down what they had seen. Michiel Roscam Abbing tells Hansken’s story based on a meticulous analysis of the sources. He has reconstructed the route Hansken took. The traces left by Hansken in European cultural history also form a potent picture of the age. After Hansken’s death in 1655, her skeleton became the object of study, enabling myths about giants to be refuted. She was even used for the first scientific description of her species, Elephas maximus.