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African civet

c. 1630

RCIN 921145

This civet had been sent from Africa as a gift to Cassiano’s patron, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, who kept it in his menagerie of exotic animals in Rome. The animal has been prized throughout history for the musky excretion (with which it marks its territory) from its anal glands, prominently shown here. Another civet was dissected for Cassiano in his palazzo.

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