Animal Stuffer VERIFIED
Taxidermy is the art of preserving an animal's body via mounting (over an armature) or stuffing, for the purpose of display or study. Animals are often, but not always, portrayed in a lifelike state. The word taxidermy describes the process of preserving the animal, but the word is also used to describe the end product, which are called taxidermy mounts or referred to simply as "taxidermy". The word taxidermy is derived from the Greek words taxiscode: ell promoted to code: el and dermacode: ell promoted to code: el . Taxiscode: ell promoted to code: el means "arrangement", and dermacode: ell promoted to code: el means "skin" (the dermis). The word taxidermy translates to "arrangement of skin".
Preserving animal skins has been practiced for a long time. Embalmed animals have been found with Egyptian mummies.Although embalming incorporates the use of lifelike poses, it is not considered taxidermy. In the Middle Ages, crude examples of taxidermy were displayed by astrologers and apothecaries. The earliest methods of preservation of birds for natural history cabinets were published in 1748 by Reaumur in France. Techniques for mounting were described in 1752 by M. B. Stollas. There were several pioneers of taxidermy in France, Germany, Denmark and England around this time. For a while, clay was used to shape some of the soft parts, but this made specimens heavy.
The golden age of taxidermy was during the Victorian era, when mounted animals became a popular part of interior design and decor. English ornithologist John Hancock is considered to be the father of modern taxidermy. An avid collector of birds, which he would shoot himself, he began modelling them with clay and casting in plaster.
In the late 19th century, a style known as anthropomorphic taxidermy became popular. A 'Victorian whimsy', mounted animals were dressed as people or displayed as if engaged in human activities. An early example of this genre was displayed by Herman Ploucquet, from Stuttgart, Germany, at the Great Exhibition in London.
The best-known practitioner in this genre was the English taxidermist Walter Potter, whose most famous work was The Death and Burial of Cock Robin. Among his other scenes were "a rat's den being raided by the local police rats ... [a] village school ... featuring 48 little rabbits busy writing on tiny slates, while the Kittens' Tea Party displayed feline etiquette and a game of croquet." Apart from the simulations of human situations, he had also added examples of bizarrely deformed animals such as two-headed lambs and four-legged chickens. Potter's museum was so popular that an extension was built to the platform at Bramber railway station.
Additional modern uses of Taxidermy have been the use of "Faux Taxidermy" or fake animal heads that draw on the inspiration of traditional taxidermy. Decorating with sculpted fake animal heads that are painted in different colors has become a popular trend in interior design.
Rogue taxidermy (sometimes referred to as "taxidermy art") is a form of mixed media sculpture. Rogue taxidermy art references traditional trophy or natural history museum taxidermy, but is not always constructed out of taxidermied animals; it can be constructed entirely from synthetic materials. Additionally, rogue taxidermy is not necessarily figurative, as it can be abstract and does not need to resemble an animal. It can be a small decorative object or a large-scale room-sized installation. There is a very broad spectrum of styles within the genre, some of which falls into the category of mainstream art. "Rogue taxidermy" describes a wide variety of work, including work that is classified and exhibited as fine art. Neither the term, nor the genre, emerged from the world of traditional taxidermy. The genre was born from forms of fine art that utilize some of the components found in the construction of a traditional taxidermy mount. The term "rogue taxidermy" was coined in 2004 by an artist collective called The Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists.The Minneapolis-based group was founded by artists Sarina Brewer, Scott Bibus, and Robert Marbury as a means to unite their respective mediums and differing styles of sculpture.The definition of rogue taxidermy set forth by the individuals who formed the genre (Brewer, Bibus, and Marbury) is: "A genre of pop-surrealist art characterized by mixed media sculptures containing conventional taxidermy-related materials that are used in an unconventional manner". Interest in the collective's work gave rise to an artistic movement referred to as the Rogue Taxidermy art movement, or alternately, the Taxidermy Art movement. Apart from describing a genre of fine art, the term "rogue taxidermy" has expanded in recent years and has also become an adjective applied to unorthodox forms of traditional taxidermy such as anthropomorphic mounts and composite mounts where two or more animals are spliced together. (e.g.; sideshow gaffs of conjoined "freak" animals and mounts of jackalopes or other fictional creatures) In addition to being the impetus for the art movement, the inception of the genre also marked a resurgence of interest in conventional (traditional) forms of taxidermy.
The methods taxidermists practice have been improved over the last century, heightening taxidermic quality and lowering toxicity. The animal is first skinned in a process similar to removing the skin from a chicken prior to cooking. This can be accomplished without opening the body cavity, so the taxidermist usually does not see internal organs or blood. Depending on the type of skin, preserving chemicals are applied or the skin is tanned. It is then either mounted on a mannequin made from wood, wool and wire, or a polyurethane form. Clay is used to install glass eyes and can also be used for facial features like cheekbones and a prominent brow bone. Modeling clay can be used to reform features as well, if the appendage was torn or damaged clay can hold it together and add muscle detail. Forms and eyes are commercially available from a number of suppliers. If not, taxidermists carve or cast their own forms.
Taxidermists seek to continually maintain their skills to ensure attractive, lifelike results. Mounting an animal has long been considered an art form, often involving months of work; not all modern taxidermists trap or hunt for prized specimens.
Animal specimens can be frozen, then thawed at a later date to be skinned and tanned. Numerous measurements are taken of the body. A traditional method that remains popular today involves retaining the original skull and leg bones of a specimen and using these as the basis to create a mannequin made primarily from wood wool (previously tow or hemp wool was used) and galvanised wire. Another method is to mould the carcass in plaster, and then make a copy of the animal using one of several methods. A final mould is then made of polyester resin and glass cloth, from which a polyurethane form is made for final production. The carcass is then removed and the mould is used to produce a cast of the animal called a 'form'. Forms can also be made by sculpting the animal first in clay. Many companies produce stock forms in various sizes. Glass eyes are then usually added to the display, and in some cases, artificial teeth, jaws, tongue, or for some birds, artificial beaks and legs can be used.
An increasingly popular trend is to freeze dry the animal. For all intents and purposes, a freeze-dried mount is a mummified animal. The internal organs are removed during preparation; however, all other tissue remains in the body. (The skeleton and all accompanying musculature is still beneath the surface of the skin) The animal is positioned into the desired pose, then placed into the chamber of a special freeze drying machine designed specifically for this application. The machine freezes the animal and also creates a vacuum in the chamber. Pressure in the chamber helps vaporize moisture in the animal's body, allowing it to dry out. The rate of drying depends on vapor pressure. (The higher the pressure, the faster the specimen dries.) Vapor pressure is determined by temperature of the chamber; the higher the temperature, the higher the vapor pressure is at a given vacuum. The length of the dry-time is important because rapid freezing creates less tissue distortion (i.e.; shrinkage, warping, and wrinkling) The process can be done with reptiles, birds, and small mammals such as cats, rodents, and some dogs. Large specimens may require up to six months in the freeze dryer before they are completely dry. Freeze drying is the most popular type of pet preservation. This is because it is the least invasive in terms of what is done to the animal's body after death, which is a concern of owners (Most owners do not opt for a traditional skin mount).In the case of large pets, such as dogs and cats, freeze drying is also the best way to capture the animal's expression as it looked in life (another important concern of owners). Freeze drying equipment is costly and requires much upkeep. The process is also time-consuming; therefore, freeze drying is generally an expensive method to preserve an animal. The drawback to this method is that freeze-dried mounts are extremely susceptible to insect damage. This is because they contain large areas of dried tissue (meat and fat) for insects to feed upon. Traditional mounts are far less susceptible because they contain virtually no residual tissues (or none at all). Regardless of how well a taxidermy mount is prepared, all taxidermy is susceptible to insect damage. Taxidermy mounts are targeted by the same beetles and fabric moths that destroy wool sweaters and fur coats and that infest grains and flour in pantries. 041b061a72