Saturday, June 04, 2011
I have had a frankly morbid interest in taxidermy since I was a child. I particularly like bad taxidermy.
My absolute favorite form of taxidermy is when naturalists in the past attempted to reconstruct animals having never seen them. The weird mistakes they made should make raise serious epistemological questions. If animals we know that are quite similar to ones we see are gotten wrong how wrong are our reconstructions of Dinosaurs? More generally miscontructed taxidermy shows how our our ignorance and presumptions can distort our world.
My competition for the best misconstructed animal is between the Horniman walrus and King Fredericks lion.
With the Horniman walrus naturalist were sent the skin of the animal. Not realising it had wrinkles just kept stuffing the skin until it bloated up like some sort of zeppelin.
And the lion of King Frederick I of Sweden in 1731 where they had no idea what a lion looked like. The reconstruction has these weird old persons false teeth and lolcat eyes.
Paris for some unknown reason has particularly excellent taxidermy using shops
1. Deyrolle on rue du Bac.
2. Aurouze which they used in Ratatouille
3. The catacombs these freaked the bejasus out of me.
While I am on the subject I also recommend 'Stuff the World' a documentary on the world taxidermy championships.
The best crap taxidermy animatronics I have seen. And it is not a big category was in Strontium in Scotland. The wildlife museum there has a tunnel you crawl through where various crap animals on rails roll toward you. Strontium was on our travel list of places elements were discovered but that is a whole other blogpost.
If you also like appalling stuffed dead animals "crappy taxidermy" blog is a goldmine. If you know of any animals stuffed by people who have never seen the animal please post it in the comments