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Author: Vemagal Somashekar
Place: Bangalore, Mysore
Notes from the author:
The art of stuffing the skin of a dead animal or a bird and giving it the look of a live one is called Taxidermy and such an artist is called taxidermist. This scientifically cultivated art was very much known and appreciated upto 19th century.
When Bangalore Museum was started in 1865, a separate cell was created to encourage the art of Taxidermy. In 1878, when the Museum was shifted to the present building, this art was encouraged with view to spread scientific knowledge. The then Mysore’s Resident Sir Oliver Johnson was responsible for the encouragement of this art. He was a lover of animals and birds and was a good hunter.
In around 1910, Bangalore Museum acquired services of Van Ingine of Mysore who was a well known taxidermist in India and abroad. The taxidermy section of the Museum flourished upto 1950 and then disintegrated itself into a fossil. In the present article, I have tried to narrate the developmental history of the art of taxidermy in Bangalore Museum with reference to its relationship with other Museums and the variety of animals the museum acquired (including the ones from Lalbagh zoo) during the period when it was encouraged.