Curiosity and ingenuity - Scientific Collections and Experimentation at Padova in the 18th Century
 
Vallisneri
Shell mounted onto a candelabra
Complete skeleton of a human foetus
Opere fisico-mediche
Sundial called an equatorial or equinox clock
Fragment of Nautilus shell
Narwhal tooth
Shell mounted onto a candelabra
Rhinoceros horn with brass base

 

Mounted nautili, considered rarities of both nature and art, were typical objects in seventeenth-century collections.

"Nautilio. Greek word meaning fish and nautical. It is a one-chambered spiral genus; it is not turbinate¸ three species are known. It has the shape of a small sail boat whose protruding stern bends back on itself. In fact it moves by raising and extending a membrane which functions as a sail then by extending two arms similar to an octopus', it hits the water in such a way that the arms function as oars. When it wants to go under water, it lowers the sail, goes inside itself, fills up with water and without fear of sinking, goes to the bottom, coming up whenever it wants to..." .






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