the strange world of taxidermy….

11 Mar

Practically a dying art, taxidermy was widely popular back in the day and when an exhibit came up at the Vancouver Museum I couldn’t refuse going to check it out.  Creepy, realistic and some would say an art form, there’s something awesome about being able to approach an animal so close…unless you’re looking at a botch job and see glue seeping out of the seams or unnatural poses.  Why do you people have heads mounted on their walls and bodies under their feet?  Who knows…but mounted dear heads and bear skin rugs still go for an arm and leg these days.

If anyone knows my art background, you would know that I like all things creepy and slightly disturbing so it’s no wonder that taxidermy is such a fascination with me….

On to the show!

It’s a rabbit, it’s an antelope, it’s a jackalope!  Also known as Rogue taxidermy, people used to combine animal parts to make fantastical animals such as this one or unicorns, mermaids and the like.  People are weird.

snake, iguana, baby alligators...remind you of grade 10 science?

Technically these guys are just sittin’ in a jar of formaldehyde but they’re preserved and creepy nonetheless.  Something about the yellow liquid makes me think they just peed in the water.

this little weasel dude could fit in the palm of my hand

This is when you start getting the heebie jeebies.  It’s one thing to display them looking “alive” but when they’re lying like this in a cardboard box that looks like a coffin…consider yourself creeped out.

more deadish looking birds

The infamous platypus…apparently when this dude was stuffed, people believed it was part of a Rogue taxidermy between a beaver and a duck…the bill is slightly peeled off the fur because they tried to see if it was stitched on.

this beaver is just plain cute

There is a famous roadside attraction called the Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington, Alberta.  This diorama is on loan from that museum and it features a bunch of these gopher scenes.  They are incredible adorable until you remember that they’re real…dead animals.

And lastly, this is when science meets art….a borderline topic for some people apparently.  Back in the day, animals were killed and then studied which is how taxidermy came about.  But there are some artists that like using animals as their materials and it’s iffy on how the general public reacts to this.  Some artists only use roadkill but it comes with complicated animal protection laws that differ from place to place.

The End.

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