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Authorities in the western French town of Nantes proudly unveil a rare manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci. It has been lying in a pile of documents given to the city's library 130 years ago.
City officials in the French town of Nantes unveiled a manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci on Monday.
The manuscript had lain undiscovered in a pile of documents for more than 130 years.
Not much more than a fragment of paper with brown scrawls, the piece was presented to the media.
Head of Nantes Library Agnes Marcetteau said the item was written back to front, so it is best read by using a mirror.
[Agnes Marcetteau, Head of Nantes Library]:
"He was most probably writing in Italian from the 15th century and possibly in other languages. So it's now got to be deciphered."
The manuscript was among some 5000 documents that were left to the city in 1872 by Pierre-Antoine Labouchere. He was a rich collector of the time.
This is the second time that a rare item has been found in Labouchere's papers. In 2008 researchers chanced on an original score by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Nantes Mayor Jean-Marc Ayrault saluted the find.
[Jean-Marc Ayrault, Mayor of Nantes]:
"This rediscovery of a fragment from Leonardo da Vinci is an invitation to do some research."
Da Vinci was one of the major painters, scientists and thinkers of the Renaissance, who lived from 1452-1519. He is best known for the Mona Lisa. He also designed a prototype for a flying machine with a rotating wing, the ancestor of the helicopter.