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18th Century Dog Cage
This elaborate dog cage epitomizes the luxurious life of the imperial court during the long reign of the Qianlong emperor, when the extravagant display of wealth extended even to the accouterments of the imperial kennels. The body of the cage is decorated with the intricate enameling technique known as cloisonné … The finials at the top of the cage as well as the five-clawed dragons and lions’ heads around the perimeter are gilded, and rows of jade rings complete this miniature palace on wheels. The emperor was said to be especially fond of cloisonné and had workshops that specialized in the process established on the palace grounds in Beijing, where this cage for a favorite pet dog was undoubtedly fabricated. Felice Fischer, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 34.
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A canine high-altitude partial pressure suit for use in sub-orbital biological research flights, i.e a dog spacesuit!
Orbital and sub-orbital tests with animals started in the 1950s and continued right up to 25th March 1961, when the successful return of the life-size mannequin “Ivan Ivanovich” and his canine crewmate Zvezdochka gave Yuri Gagarin the green light for the first manned spaceflight on 14th April 1961.
In the first series of tests, the dogs were launched in pressurised cabins up to an altitude of 100km, with the cabin and dog then gently parachuted to the ground. The second series of launches required full or partial pressure suits, such as the one pictured above, which is on display at the National Space Centre.
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