Volières, tres chic!
As is today, early bird cages were built to house, display, keep birds safe from predators and prevent their escape. They were were simple handmade enclosures of wood, rope, woven reeds or bamboo. In northern Chihuahua, Mexico, Paquime Indians bred scarlet Macaws and housed them in elaborate adobe aviaries. Once upon a time tiny cages holding canaries were used in coal mines to forewarn the presence of noxious gasses; if the canary died the miners would evacuate.
For a time songbirds in portable cages were the first “portable entertainment” long before the transistor radio, the stereo or the iPod.
Ornamental, lavish cages became popular in Europe around the 14th century, the most talented artisans were the French and the Dutch. In France, a guild of cage makers fabricate cages of iron or brass wire for royalty. Later cages became a decor element, impractical for birds but beautiful and fanciful, mimicking famous landmarks, like the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower.