Some taxidermists use artificial heads and attach them to natural skin to prevent damage and shrinkage. Saltwater fish are almost always recreated using completely man-made materials. A mold is made of the fresh catch and then cast into fiberglass reinforced polyester resin. Once the deceased animal has been skinned, the skin goes through several processes to preserve it properly and last a lifetime.
Taxidermy is the art of preserving an animal's body by mounting (on armor) or filling, for the purpose of exhibiting or studying it. Animals are often, but not always, depicted in a realistic state. The word taxidermy describes the process of preserving the animal, but the word is also used to describe the final product, which is called taxidermy supports or is simply known as taxidermy. The word taxidermy is derived from the Greek words taxis and derma.
Taxis means disposition, and derma means skin (the dermis). The word taxidermy translates to disposition of the skin. In the early days, the animals were gutted and tanned and then stuffed with straw and sawdust, before being sewn back together. Animals in a museum's collection can be preserved as skeletons, alcohol specimens (where the animal is preserved in alcohol) or as “study skins”.
Endangered animals, such as rhinoceroses, are highly protected and some animals, such as fish, are difficult to preserve, so taxidermists make these frames with materials such as fiberglass and plastic resin. The golden age of taxidermy was during the Victorian era, when mounted animals became a popular part of interior design and decoration. Instead, detailed photos and measurements of the animal are taken so that a taxidermist can create an exact replica in resin or fiberglass that can be shown instead of the real animal. In these tanneries, the animals were gutted and tanned and then stuffed with straw and sawdust, before being sewn back together.
A “Victorian whim”, mounted animals dressed as people or showed themselves as if they were involved in human activities. In addition to simulations of human situations, I had also added examples of strangely deformed animals such as two-headed lambs and four-legged chickens. Because body parts, such as skin, are preserved when an animal is dissected, future scientists can get all kinds of useful information from stuffed animals, such as size, color, and texture. Today, commercial taxidermy forms made of foam are available for most animals, but I still prefer to make my own forms because I have more freedom with postures and know that they will fit the skin perfectly.
Other modern uses of taxidermy have been the use of false taxidermy or fake animal heads that are inspired by traditional taxidermy. Traditionally, after skinning the animal and taking measurements of the carcass, a sturdy structure is made to replicate the carcass that is constructed with wood wool and wire tied together. The animal is first skinned in a process similar to removing the skin from a chicken before cooking it. In the 1970s, so-called animal stuffing stopped and taxidermists began stretching the animal's skin over sculpted molds, or mannequins, typically made of foam.
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