Stuff that!

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

  • I don’t think many people would expect to come face to face with a tiger in Paris, but you can. For that matter, you could stand in front of a polar bear, next to a zebra, and stare in the eyes of a bull.

    All of these animals are real, though they’re no longer alive.

    The Design and Nature gallery and store specializing in the creation of stuffed animals, in entomology (the science of butterflies and insects) and in osteology, as well as in the presentation of organic and vegetal species.

    The shop and gallery presents its exhibits as works of art which, it’s fair to say, some people find a little confronting. However, while some people might feel uneasy about seeing a tiger cub presented as art, all of the animals on display come from zoos, the circus, and zoological gardens, and died naturally.

    I don’t think I would ever have a stuffed tiger or polar bear in my home, though I did once buy alligator heads for my niece and nephew. Though, to be fair, I doubt I would ever be able to afford a large stuffed animal anyway. Private collectors can spend a great deal of money, not to mention time, acquiring an animal.

    Taxidermy is controlled in France by very strict laws that require a mass of paperwork for all specimens so as to eliminate the trading of hunted or illegally traded animals (and because the French adore bureaucracy).

    I was curious if there was a market of people who wanted their pets stuffed after its death. Apparently, there is, but it’s not something this particular taxidermist caters for. However, the member of staff I was chatting to did point at a small stuffed dog ‘hiding’ under a table. Once someone’s beloved pet, its owner was so distraught after its death that they decided to have it stuffed. However, when they returned to collect their pet dog after the taxidermy process was completed, they changed their mind and decided not to take it.

    Evidently, seeing their once lively little dog as a furry little statue didn’t appeal to them in the same way the dog had when it was alive. I suspect that, as lifelike as it was, in its newly static state the dog lost more than just the motion it once had. I can understand that, after all, we don’t stuff granny when she dies!

    Walk around this shop using Google street view.