Finial with Bird (Harpy Eagle with Royal Flycatcher Crest?)

Finial with Bird (Harpy Eagle with Royal Flycatcher Crest?)

400-1000

Gold, cast

Overall: 11.4 x 7.2 x 6 cm (4 1/2 x 2 13/16 x 2 3/8 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2015.3

Fun Fact

A museum visitor corrected our identification of this bird!

Description

This gold finial fit over the end of a staff, an emblem of rank. The bird has the hooked beak of a raptor—perhaps the harpy eagle, the “king” of tropical forests. The enormous crest, however, may be inspired by the Royal Flycatcher, a smaller bird that fans its unique, brilliantly colored crest during mating.

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