Bird of Paradise

by Gail Emerson June 10, 2017

A heavenly creature
Daniel's stunning Bird of Paradise design brings a flavour of the tropics to the DM Collection, with it's vibrant colour and abundant flora. 
It is said the first Europeans to see the birds believed they were magical creatures from heaven. Having travelled half way around the world on sailing vessels enduring untold hardships, they landed in Papua New Guinea to make their fortune acquiring exotic treasures to sell back home. What a wonder the tropical islands must have been - the lush green of the jungles, shimmering blue of the sea, heat that envelops you like a blanket and flowers of such brilliant shades as to make you avert your gaze, lest you never could.  
Then, when trading with the locals with whom they had no common tongue, the traders were presented with birds covered in the most stunning plumage imaginable. Of course, thoughts quickly turned to the riches wealthy ladies would pay for such lustrous, bright feathers in the latest millinery.
But the Birds of Paradise presented to the foreigners were not in their full glory, but were lifeless carcasses for they are a species which withers within hours in captivity. Even trapping one alive (however briefly) was enough to elevate the captor to the position of a 'wiseman' among the locals of  Papua New Guinea. 
The bodies of the most stunning of birds at market came with out legs or feet, for those parts were too valuable to the locals as a talisman to even consider trading. Unable to communicate more than an agreed price, the overwhelmed (and no doubt overheated) Europeans did not understand this and instead took these birds to be divine. After all, their beauty could surely only come from heaven, and being footless, these were clearly birds which never landed on the earth.
The stories continued. The Birds of Paradise did not need to land to feed, as they lived on the very dew in the air and the scent from the abundant flora of the jungle. The female did not need to nest, as she laid her eggs on the male's back in an aerobatic balancing act that really would require divine intervention to pull off.  
Whether these stories made it back to the fashionable ladies who eventually acquired the feathers for their bonnets is unknown, though it surely would have only pushed up the price further. Even now, that such tales should arise and be believed is a testament to the wonders that exist across the planet - exemplified by the wondrously beautiful Bird of Paradise.

Gail Emerson
Gail Emerson


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