Donkey – Beast of Burden
Donkeys were among the first animals to be tamed by humans. The first donkeys probably came from Asia. People ride donkeys and use them to carry heavy loads, or burdens. The donkey is a member of the horse family.
Donkeys have long ears. They are usually white, gray, or black or shades in between. They usually have a dark stripe from the mane to the tail and a crosswise stripe on the shoulders. The mane is short and upright, and the tail has long hair only at the end.
Donkey is a domesticated or tamed animal, and ass is a wild animal.
Donkeys can survive on almost any kind of plant matter, but usually they eat hay or grass.
Sometimes people crossbreed a donkey and a horse. When the father is a donkey and the mother is a horse, the baby is called a mule.
Donkeys are gentle and patient and become fond of their masters, but they can be famously stubborn.
They can live up to 50 years.
In around 4000 B.C., inhabitants of the Nile Valley of Egypt first domesticated descendants of the donkey, specifically, Nubian wild asses. Later, they were domesticated in Arabia and throughout Africa as well. In around 2000 B.C. the first donkeys were brought to Europe by the Etruscans, traveling from Turkey to Italy. The Romans used donkeys throughout their empire, for pack animals and for grape cultivation. The Spanish brought them to North America in the 1600s.
Early Indo-Europeans believed that donkey was the divine animal.
Donkey has sixty-two chromosomes (sixteen more than a human) and can interbreed with horses and zebras.
The African wild ass is the smallest member of the horse family. It is 1.5 meters tall at the shoulders and weighs about 250 to 275 kilograms. It looks like its cousin, domestic donkey, and is in fact the donkey’s ancestor. It eats the tough grasses and shrubs of the desert. The African ass can go longer without water than any other species of horse. They sometimes live alone, but they often join temporary groups. African wild ass in the wild can live up to about 30 or 40 years.
One hundred years ago French journalist made fun of modern artists with the help of a donkey. The funny article was published in Niva magazine on April 24, 1910.
In the Salon des Independants appeared unusual picture painter by Joachim-Raphael Boronali. “Independent” painters were delighted. There were no lines or patterns, but some chaos of screaming, glaring colors. Red, blue, green – danced a wild tarantella… The picture had a very poetic signature: Et le soleil s’endormit sur l’Adriatique (And the sun fell asleep over the Adriatic Sea). Boronali’s painting became “highlight” of the exhibition. The name of the painter was on everyone’s lips.
And suddenly something highly unexpected happened. It turned out that the picture was painted by the donkey. The paint brush was tied to donkey’s tail and one man was feeding him. Donkey thankfully waved its tail – and painted … Adriatic Sea…
The surname Boronali was simply an anagram of the French word Aliboron, ie ass, ignorant.
What a scandal it was.
In Bristol artist Vicky Greenslade taught donkey named Patty to paint. Patty is called Pic-ass-o and her pictures are popular and cost 100-150 euros and even more.