What's This?

What a coincidence!
It's Mickey

A 700-year-old fresco has been found during restoration work on a south Austrian church with a figure with round ears and pointed nose that one art historian today said bore a striking resemblance to Mickey Mouse.

If true, it would predate the creation of Walt Disney's beloved cartoon character by more than 600 years.

"Now it's all clear", remarked one local hotel owner. "It wasn't Walt Disney who invented Mickey Mouse, but one of our ancestors 700 years ago."

The local tourist bureau speculated the village could become a pilgrimage site for Mickey fans around the world.

The medieval Mickey stands about 50-cm tall among a group of animals and mythical beasts on the outside wall of a church in the village of Malta, in Carinthia Province. The animals surround St Christopher, who is depicted standing in a river.

"The fresco dates from around 1300," said conservator and art historian Eduard Mahlknecht. However he said he was not certain the medieval mouse was a mouse at all. "It could just as well be a painting of the weasel legend," he said.

According to legend, the weasel was fertilised through its mouth and gave birth through its ears, which is why the ears of the fresco creature may have been sketched large, Mahlknecht said.