The Specimens

Department of the Great Apes

Karl Kaestner is turning Bobby into a Dermoplastik, 1935, photo archives Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin

Bobby was born in Cameroon. As a young gorilla he arrived in Marseille at the age of tree together with the chimpanzee Toto. Exotic animals were often smuggled to the European continent by sailors. From Marseille he was brought to the nearest acclimatization station at the French Riviera. In 1928, the Berlin Zoological Garden bought Bobby from [...]

Submitted by: Filip Van Dingenen | Leave a comment

The Sarcophagus of the Via Appia, Rome, 1485

Via Apia

Considering the rigorous beliefs of science, the quality of a specimen should be described according to two criteria – the visual proximity to the original and the actual quantity of bodily matter preserved as object. These criteria are fulfilled to perfection in the specimens of Dr. Hagens who developed (not invented) the method of plastination [...]

Submitted by: Milan Ráček | Leave a comment

Tomer Sapir: Research for the Full Crypto-Taxidermical Index

Tomer Sapir: Untitled (detail), 2012, mixed media, 2012, installation at Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv. Photo: Elad Sarig

In his exhibition Terra Incognita in the Chelouche Gallery for contemporary art, Tel-Aviv, Tomer Sapir features quasi-organic configurations which constantly evolve, blurring the boundaries between the bustling present and the prehistorical past. Relics and fossils of creatures from an invented prehistoric era awaken into an implausible present. Despite the fossils’ static quality, something bubbles under [...]

Submitted by: Avi Lubin | Leave a comment

Billy Goat, American Museum of Natural History, New York


In the Hall of North American Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History, most of the taxidermy ignores you. The specimens are preoccupied with acting out their animal nature: moose fight, bison herd, wolves hunt. But one specimen – among the first prepared for the hall in 1938 – seems arranged expressly to meet [...]

Submitted by: Laura Allen | Leave a comment

Hiroshima Rice Bowl

Hiroshima Bowl

On the 6th of August, 1945, the United States of America unleashed an unprecedented weapon against the populous of Hiroshima, Japan.  A fission-based nuclear device, code named Little Boy, was detonated at an altitude of 1,800 feet above the city.  The 9,000 pound bomb released an explosive force equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT.  Upwards [...]

Submitted by: Bryan McGovern Wilson | Leave a comment