Recently, we often hear that it is not ethical, morally low, and generally blasphemous to make stuffed animals from harvested wild animals. This question is among the questions about the prohibition of hunting in General as such. These postulates are deduced by people, as a rule, urban, forgetting that at present hunting is the only source of food for small peoples, including in Russia. For this purpose, there are even special privileges and privileges for these peoples in the field of hunting.
To understand the essence of contradictions, let’s touch on a little history. Translated from Latin, taxidermy literally means “skin treatment”. However, in the modern concept of taxidermy, this is just one of the stages in the manufacture of stuffed animals.
No educational institution produces taxidermists. Skills are usually acquired independently, through rare books and magazines, taking over the experience of already venerable taxidermists, which are even fewer.
According to Valeria fialkova, the beginning of the birth of taxidermy in Russia, historians of biology believe that Peter I founded the Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg. In 1716, the collection of albert SEB was purchased for the Kunstkammer in the Netherlands, and in 1717, it was purchased by Friedrich Ruysch. Among various rarities, minerals, and anatomical preparations, stuffed wild animals were also purchased for the Museum: 212 stuffed elephants, lions, Panthers, various deer, antelopes, and 772 stuffed birds. The largest museums of our country, including the Zoological Museum of the Academy of Sciences, have grown out of the Kunstkamera. There is still no answer to the question what is it: craft or art? Perhaps all together.
The goal of the Taxidermist is to make an effigy extremely similar to a live animal. However, inserting eyes and teeth, for example, in the manufacture of a stuffed wolf, you may not get a wolf at all, but an animal completely unknown to science. It seems to look like a living thing, but there are biological features of each animal that are unique to it: a special look, posture, anatomical features, and much more. Therefore, the Taxidermist should know a lot about animals up to their habits. As A. F. writes Cats, being a true art, and not just a craft of stuffing stuffed animals, taxidermy works require a number of qualities or properties: interest and love for nature, observation, artistic talent, the ability to capture the elegance and originality of animal shapes, lines, contours, technical skill when working with a variety of materials. Very often, taxidermists are hunters and hunters.
There are two directions of taxidermy: Museum and commercial. The Museum’s taxidermy serves a variety of museums, starting with Darwin and ending with small regional museums. Almost every district center has a local history Museum with a decorated corner of stuffed local fauna. As a rule, they are made by local craftsmen at different levels, usually not very high. There are the main types of animals that live in the local forests. In my opinion, this is the most valuable thing that taxidermy brings: to show people who are absolutely far from nature what kind of animals we are surrounded by, to look at them with your own eyes, to feel this world of wild nature. This is also the most powerful argument in favor of taxidermy. In addition, such museums are usually visited by children of preschool and school age, who from an early age begin to get acquainted with the natural world and expand their horizons. Of course, the quality of exhibits in such museums leaves much to be desired, but this is another question.
As Oksana Chernenko writes in her article “on a date with a bear”, in such a type of craft as taxidermy, a master’s mistake can cause a sharply negative reaction from the viewer. Making stuffed animals is a delicate subject, not only in technical but also in an ethical sense. For obvious reasons, not all people perceive this craft as something artistic. Many consider it barbaric. And there are hardly enough weighty arguments to argue with this opinion. Therefore, both the masters themselves and the organizers of the display of products should try to avoid such moments that really represent hunting and taxidermy as barbaric occupations. First, you can not put on display not quite successful products. Improbably, and even more so, an ugly Scarecrow loses its original meaning-visibility. A child who has never seen a squirrel before will remember it exactly as it was seen at the exhibition.
However, the ethics of the Taxidermist is not only the correct transfer of the image of the animal, but also the unacceptability of making stuffed animals from Pets. This taboo.
One day my grandmother brought it to the Taxidermist with his dead cat to make it a stuffed animal. Apparently my grandmother did not want to part with her favorite. The Taxidermist took pity on the poor grandmother and made an effigy. When she saw her pet, she was horrified. It was a very different cat from the one my grandmother had lived with for many years. It is impossible to convey a lifetime image of a pet to the end, no Taxidermist is able to do this. So it’s not far from my grandmother. And Lenin, by the way, was made not by taxidermists, but by embalmers, people of a completely different profession.
The second area of taxidermy is commercial. The greatest development it has received in the last 20 years with the development of commercial hunting and some fashion to have a hunting trophy at home. A hunter who gets a bear, for example, wants to leave his trophy for many years in the form of a carpet or stuffed animal. In my opinion, this is a legitimate right for him. To keep the trophy as long as possible and in a decent form, the hunter turns to taxidermists-professionals. It is clear that this is not done for free. And the higher the Taxidermist’s level, the more expensive his services are.
Currently, the Taxidermist has the opportunity to work with high-quality materials, artificial mannequins, jaws, eyes of very high quality, produced specifically for this profession. Dozens of companies, including foreign ones, offer components for making stuffed animals. Even eyes for the same type are of different quality, colorings, with a reflective shade, and so on. In General, this is already an entire industry. All this is not cheap, but the hunter now has the right to choose what quality he wants to see his hunting trophy. Of course, this is no longer an art, but a pure craft, earning money, and business. However, this can be justified by the high quality of products. For example, to make a boar’s head, a Taxidermist will need at least two weeks. However, if this is a whole production and you need to make not one, but twenty heads,then this takes on an industrial scale and the process becomes strictly step-by-step production. There is no question of any art here. The first place is taken by the speed of execution and quality of the product. Many hunters currently go on hunting tours in African countries, hunting African animals. It is clear that such a hunt in the life of a hunter can take place only once and in addition to photos with a trophy, the getter orders a stuffed animal or a carpet. A rhinoceros head, for example, adorning a hunter’s house will serve as a good memory not only of the hunt itself,but also of the trip in General.
Opponents of taxidermy products hope that this is just a mockery of a killed or dead animal. However, crowds of people go to the zoo to look at live, but sometimes exhausted and, often, not well-groomed animals in a cage. What is more humane? The answer is obvious. Hundreds of thousands of people buy Souvenirs on vacation in the warm countries of dried starfish, various fish, such as fish-hedgehog and others, stuffed with sawdust… . Isn’t this taxidermy in its simplified form?! It should also be mentioned that the work of some taxidermists is, I’m not afraid of this word, art. A Taxidermist becomes an artist when the whole story is traced in his work, and the work itself is endowed with meaning.
These works are isolated and never repeated. This is their value. It takes more than one day to create a story and images. It often happens that the plot conceived at the beginning, after the work, is reworked several times. This is a very” live ” work and very interesting, which also requires a lot of perseverance. Such works are mostly exhibited in museums, exhibitions, and taxidermy Championships, and are not in high demand due to the inability to put such works on stream. That’s probably how it should be. This is a whole trend in taxidermy, which certainly has a great future. Serious taxidermy workshops, as a rule, are not limited only to the production of stuffed animals. They experiment a lot in terms of achieving the usefulness of these works in everyday life. For example, making lamps from elk horns, in combination with carving. Or marten stretched out on the pine twigs on the clock.
The most difficult work in taxidermy is considered to be the production of stuffed fish. This process is very time-consuming and time-consuming. Such workshops are often used by designers who design not only hunting bases, but also the homes of quite wealthy people who are not related to hunting.
Opponents of taxidermy probably understand that most products are found in people, directly or indirectly related to hunting, or with nature in General. And this is a personal matter for everyone, to have a stuffed animal at home or not. We can only agree with one thing, that the Scarecrow should be made as high as possible, it should not frighten with its unnatural, careless production, alien appearance of the animal. By the way, taxidermists do not like to call their work stuffed. Sounds akin to a garden Scarecrow, but this is far from the case, preferring to call them products.