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Genres Explained




Taxidermy is both a material and metaphorical practice: it is not just the animal which is on display but attitudes – whether individual or collective – towards pieces of nature.
Certainly, taxidermied animals symbolise human power and desire for control, but the meaning of individual pieces of taxidermy is always framed by particular aesthetic, social, ideological concerns. Taxidermied animals are more than just dead animals. They expose different attitudes about what nature is and how it should be used. Whether for the sake of whimsy, pride, social commentary, or education, taxidermy reveals as much about our collective daydreams and desires as it does about death and domination.

There are always cross-overs between the genres of taxidermy listed below but the following genres will provide some help in navigating the strangely alluring world of taxidermy.


  • Dabbling in Wonders

    Taxidermy originated as a means to preserve and accentuate the marvelous, bizarre, or incomprehensible parts of nature and as such frequently serves an exuberant, perhaps even manic collecting urge.
  • Science of Death

    Historically, natural history museums have been the largest producers and consumers of taxidermy. 
  • Sporting Trophies

    Not just death on display, hunting trophies act as souvenirs of an individual's life and exploits and stand as sign of geographical possession or belonging.

  • Theatrical Taxidermy

    Theatrical taxidermy either poses animals in humanised scenarios (kittens drinking tea, fencing squirrels) or creates fearsome scenes of animal combats: life is never dull. 

  • Fraudulent Animals

    The human imagination and taxidermy are both particularly suited to creating fabulous beasts and strange hybrid animal concoctions.

  • Pets & Mascots

    The scary love for preserving pets: eerie desires for ownership or undying love, control or misplaced adoration? 

  • Fashion & Household

    a squirrel decanter with a removeable cork stopper head, Victorian birds under glass, a hummingbird head broach, an elephant foot ashtray, a giraffe table ...