(b. 1406, San Giovanni Valdarno, d. 1486, Firenze)

Game of Civettino (a Birth Salver)

c. 1450
Tempera on wood, diameter 59 cm
Museo di Palazzo Davanzati, Florence

The "desco da parto" (birth salver) was originally used in Florence for bringing food to pregnant women, and seem to have become traditional gifts at birth. This example is decorated with a representation of the game of civettino (little owl). It was a tough popular game of skill, required good reflexes an eye for dodging and parrying, and speed. The point of the game was that the players had to stay within a certain distance of each other - as can be seen from the picture, the right foot of one participant having to touch the other's left.

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