Taxidermy is the art of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins of animals for display or, for other sources of study. The term comes from the Greek for “arrangement of skin”. A taxidermist (who conducts this type of work), may be employed in museums or businesses which cater to hunters and fishermen or; amateurs, such as hobbyists, hunters, and fishermen.
If you want to be a taxidermist when you grow up, (and I don’t), you need to be proficient in the areas of anatomy, sculpture and painting; as well as tanning or preserving of animal skins.
- The Victorian era became the “Golden Age” of taxidermy where mounted animals became a popular part of interior design and decor.
- According to Wikipedia, during the 18th Century, there was almost a tannery business in every town; and by the 19th Century, hunters began bringing their trophies to upholstery shops, where the upholsterers would actually sew up the animal skins and stuff them with rags and cotton.
- The term “stuffing” or a “stuffed animal” evolved from this crude form of taxidermy. Professional taxidermists prefer the term “mounting” to “stuffing”. More sophisticated cotton-wrapped wire bodies supporting sewn-on cured skins soon followed.
In relation to the photo above, this Doggie artifact belongs to the Museum of Western Australia, in Perth; and, as you can see from the image above, I regret to inform you that …the poor doggie is stuffed!