Taxidermy – The Hunters’ Art Form

The word “taxidermy” comes from the Greek “taxis” for arrangement and “derma” for skin. Taxidermy grew from the tanning industry where, by the 1700s, almost every town had at least one tannery. First practiced in the 1800s, taxidermy is the art of mounting dead animals, including humans occasionally, for display. It began when proud hunters began bringing their trophies to upholstery shops to be stuffed. This is where we got the term “stuff animal,” although most professional taxidermists would take exception if you called their work “stuffing” instead of “mounting.”

Taxidermy is a controversial practice, particularly when the dead animal is used as a trophy, and it appears to be in decline in modern culture. Still, most of the business caters to homeowners, though many taxidermists prepare animals for museums, scientific labs, and zoological displays. To be a taxidermist, one must be well-educated in the areas of anatomy and dissection, painting and sculpture, and tanning.

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Because the process of taxidermy relies on having a solid structure with which to work, the practice is usually limited to animals with backbones. In rare instances, taxidermists has involved other creatures like insects, a much more complicated task. pmon real

Since the early 20th Century, taxidermy has progressed as a science and an art. Since the goal is to preserve the life-like qualities of an animal, taxidermists continuously seek to improve their skills and procedures, and technological advances have contributed greatly to the profession. If you are a sportsman and want to have your catch mounted, you need to know how to prepare your animal properly to assure your taxidermist can achieve the most life-like treatment possible.

A common technique taxidermists use is freezing the animal. Using a large freezer, similar to that used by butchers, they freeze the animal carcass completely. Once a hard freeze is achieved, the skin is removed and set aside to be tanned later on. The animal’s tissue, muscle, and bone are then coated with plaster of Paris, creating a cast of the animal from which a foam sculpture is made. The skin is tanned and then placed on the foam sculpture, and other elements like glass eyes and false teeth are added to create a life-like effect.

A branch of taxidermy, known as “rogue taxidermy,” creates fantastical creatures. It is the art of preparing animal-like replicas of animals that do not in fact exist. Their customers are often museums of the bizarre and unusual, and they play on the buying public’s vivid imaginations. Thought to be the creative entertainment form of the art, rogue taxidermists need the same set of skills as their more worldly counterparts.

Akin to rogue taxidermy, crypto-taxidermy tries to create or re-create animals that may exist or that have long gone extinct. Examples include woolly mammoths and dinosaurs used by natural history museums. Based on skeletons discovered by archeologists and anthropologists, crypto-taxidermists create life-like forms used in scientific study and education.

A form of taxidermy that was popular in the Victorian era of the 19th Century is called anthromorphic taxidermy. In this form, mounted animals were dressed and displayed as if doing human activities.

Hunters take their kill to taxidermists in order to preserve that moment of victory when they took the animal down. Common especially among big game hunters, they use the meat for food and safe the skin and fur for trophies. Another popular approach is to have a part of the body, like the head, mounted for display.

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