What is taxidermy? Well should I say what is stuffing? Taxidermy is really a big thing in this small world. Taxidermy has been around for a very long time, it takes many difficult steps to becoming a good taxidermist, all the different types of taxidermy, therefore it will take carefulness, time and patience for me to mount a deer head for my product. When taxidermy first came around it was used by the Indians for clothing and even used for shelter. In this research paper you will find that taxidermy is very important to the human life, because even today people still wear clothing that is made from animal skin.
Taxidermy is a general term showing the many methods of reproducing a life-like three dimensional representation of an animal for permanent display. The actual skin from an animal (including the fur, feathers or scales) is took and mounted over an artificial armature. In other cases, the specimen is completely done with man made materials. Taxidermy is derived from two ancient Greek words: taxis, Meaning movement, and derma, meaning skin. Therefore translated, taxidermy means the movement of skin. Taxidermy can be done on all species of animals including humans.
A brief history of Taxidermy, Thousands of years ago when man first hunted for his food, he found that the skins of his prey, when treated with certain substances, could be preserved and used for clothing and shelter. The first taxidermists were primitive hunter-gatherers who crudely formed animal skins over mud and rock for use in their hunting rituals. Over the years, as methods increased these skins improved and the need for tanned skins increased, the tanner became one of the most important members of the tribe. Without him there would be no clothing.
As the demand for quality leather and skins increased, the methods became more and more sophisticated. By the 1700s almost every town had a tannery business. In the 1800s, hunters began bringing their trophies to upholstery shops, where the upholster would sew up the animal skins and stuff them with rags and cotton. That’s where the term “stuffing” or a “stuffed animal” evolved from this crude form of taxidermy. This practice produced some terrible looking mounts and gave taxidermy a bad reputation which still haunts the industry to this day.
Professional taxidermists still shudder and take offense at the term stuffing, the perfered word is mounting. In the early 20th century, taxidermy began to evolve into its modern form under the leadership of great artists such as Carl E. Akeley, William T. Horneday, Coloman Jonas and Leon Pray. These and other talented pioneers developed anatomically accurate mounts which incorporated every detail right down to each muscle and tendon of the animal. In artistically pleasing poses. They invented new techniques for mounting that allowed them to portray animals with lifelike accuracy.
They created mounts in realistic settings and poses that were more appropriate for the species. This was quite a change from the crude, snarling caricatures that were popularly offered as hunting trophies. To actual trophies that show exactly the realistic look of the animal. Taxidermy in the latter part of the twentieth century has developed into a full-fledged form of wildlife art, and the successful taxidermists of today must also be considered as very fine artists in their own right.
There are many different methods used today for producing mounts of different species. The taxidermist today can take pride in their works as their work is just as nice as the paintings that hang on house holds. To becoming a non forgettable taxidermists it takes practice. The modern practice of taxidermy incorporates many crafts, such as carpentry, woodworking, tanning, molding and casting. It also contains artist talent, so it takes someone that will put their time into something that they won’t except till it reaches their high explatations.
In a deer head mount, the only natural parts of the animal are the antlers and the skin, the teeth can be used if they are in good dental shape, but most are artificial. The other organs are shaped by the taxidermists materials. The eyes are made from glass, the eyelids are sculpted from clay, the nose and mouth are made from epoxy or wax. The form is made from polyurethane foam. To practice taxidermy one must be extremely familiar with anatomy, dissection, sculpture, and painting as well as tanning. Today most of the parts used are not even from the real parts of the animal at all.
They are completely recreated from man made materials. This is for those who that believe in the catch and release. This is usually done on fish, the only thing they are required to do is take a picture and take some measurements of the fish. Then take the picture and the measurements to a local taxidermy, the taxidermy will then take the materials and sculpture a real life like mount of the fish, Some even say that if you take the artificial fish and set it beside a real one and you wont even tell the difference.
But the good thing is the hunter or fisherman can feel good about what he has done because the fish that he caught is still living plus he has a trophy on his wall that reminds him of what he caught. A taxidermy will first take the trophy and freeze it until it is time to be mounted. The taxidermist the removes the skin, to be tanned and treated for later use. The remaining muscle fibers and bones are measured and posed. The carcass is then molded and plaster. The carcass is then removed and the mold is used to produce a cast of the animal called a mannequin.
Mannequins can also be made by sculpting the animal first clay. There are many companies that produce stock forms in many sizes that can be used. Glass eyes are then usually added to the display, and possibly also artificial teeth, depending on the subject’s original dental condition. An increasingly popular trend is to freeze dry the animal. This can be done with reptiles, birds, and small mammals such as cats, large mice and some types of dogs. Freeze drying is expensive and time consuming. The equipment is expensive and requires much upkeep.
Large specimens can be required to spend as long as six months in the freeze dryer, although is the preferred technique for pets. There are many different types of taxidermy, for instant a Rogue taxidermy is the creation of stuffed animals which do not have real, live counterparts, be of the taxidermists’s imagination, or be endangered or extinct species. They can be made from the parts of mythical animals or they may be artificially created. Rogue taxidermy is often seen in side shows and dime museums among genuine freak animals.
The other type of taxidermy is known as Anthropomorphic taxidermy its where stuffed animals are dressed as people or displayed as if engaged in human activities. This style was popular in Victorian and Edwardian times but can still be found today. The style was popularized by Human Plouequet, taxidermist in Stuttgart. Germany, when he exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Just where can you see taxidermy at? Well taxidermy is everywhere they are displayed in museums, educational institutions, businesses, restaurants, and homes.
Therefore to become a taxidermist you must need some experience, you can gain this experience threw schooling. From there you will learn the basics of taxidermy, like how to measure the different parts of the animal, how to be accurate at ordering the right size form for the species. You will also learn how to tan a hide and learn the steps to putting the cape on the form. This is all important because you want to make sure that the specie looks very life like. Which if you like to rush threw things and be able to finish them without the hassle of waiting then taxidermy is not for you.
Taxidermy takes patience and time, it can take a taxidermist up to six months to finish a trophy. Of course a taxidermist could do it a lot faster if they didn’t care what it looks like at the end but no they want their work to look as life like as possible. Because anyone that is a hunter or fisherman knows that having something to remind them of there trophy is a memory that will always stick with them. So when they pay a very large amount of money to get their trophy done they would expect it to look life like and give them that memory of the day it was taken or caught.