Skip Navigation

 Museum Explorer

Birds and beasts
in Europe

Hunting with birds

Diameter: 9.700 cm

M&ME 1856,6-23,103

Hunting with birds

From: Paris, France
Date: about AD 1325-75

Hunting for small animals using birds of prey was a popular sport for rich people in medieval times. Hawks could be trained by having their eyes sewn shut so that they couldn’t be distracted, and being carried around to get them used to people. Then their eyes were gradually unsealed, and they were encouraged to go after different kinds of prey.

This carved mirror back shows a finely-dressed man and lady on horseback. Each carries a hunting hawk and behind them walks a servant carrying a spear. The edges are decorated with four dragons.