Rogue Taxidermy

Pacific Galleries is having an auction of traditional taxidermy and sideshow items such as a giant skull gaff, which is a man-made object made for a freekshow, meant to imitate a mysterious find from the natural world.

* Note: Washington State ID is required to purchase some of these items, and they must not cross state lines after purchase!

Taxidermy: “Spot”, a two-headed calf which lived for six weeks on a farm in Auburn, WA in the 1930’s:
Tw0-headed calf

Sideshow Item: Counterfeit Shrunken Head in case, under a glass dome, made from monkey skin.
Sideshow shrunken head

Rogue Taxidermy: Whimsy the “Great Horned Swamp Ape”, a man-made example using party of different animals to construct a mythical character. Looks like it’s made out of deer butt.
Rogue Taxidermy

Stuffed giraffe head (uh.. and neck), shoulder mounted speciman “harvested” late 20th century. Who would buy this?
Stuffed giraffe

Two-headed racoon sideshow gaff.
Two-headed racoon

“Tasmanian Werewolf” gaff. This piece of rogue taxidermy was likely assembled in the second quarter of the 20th century.
Tasmanian Werewolf Gaff

This was so large and impressive in real-life, it kinda makes me sad…
Stuffed elephant

And here’s the poor guy’s feet!
Elephant Feet

Who owned all this stuff? What did their house look like???
Wall of heads

Couldn’t make the auction? Have a burning desire to own a dried turkey head, punk-rock squirrel, a boar hear under glass or Mummified Magic Mystery Hand Box? Check out Custom Creature Taxidermy.

Dead Squirrel

Wanna Mouse Torso, Evil Eye, or Exploding Frog? Liquid Fish

Evil Eye

How about an Aligator Boy, 3-Clawed Scorpion or a Baby Dragon? Fiendish Curiosities

Dead Kitten

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  1. Abraham Morris

    In Brooklyn, New York, Takeshi Yamada is well-known about his creative taxidewrmy artworks or “sideshow gaff” such as 6-feet Fiji mermaid, 31-feet giant sea serpent, two-headed human baby, hairy trout, 6-fingered hand of a witch, shrunken human head, etc. Yamada had over 400 exhibitions including 40 solo shows internationally with his unique artworks of curiosities, and wonders.Here is his website with many pics and articles of curiosities, oddities, monsters and marvels:

    Takeshi Yamada is currently having solo art exhibition entitled “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities” at the Brooklyn Public Library – Coney Island Branch. (October 2006 – January 1, 2008) Yamada is also featured in a documentary film shown at the “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids” exhibition at the American Museum of the Natural History in Manhattan, New York. ((May 26, 2007 – January 6, 2008)

  2. andrea

    I have seen Yamada’s work many of them appear to be copies of a japanese artist named Hajime Emoto who has 2 books out of his works. One example is the ” starfish “.
    Yamada’s fiji mermaid is made out of paper…would be more impressive if it was made from real fish and monkey parts.

  3. Lisa

    I love Victorian taxidermy. I have been collecting Fiji mermaids for many years.

    Juan Canaba in Florida has been creating amazing Fiji mermaids and I have one of his artworks. Cabana’s website is also awesome. I wish he lives in NYC so that I could see him and more of his creations in person. The prices of his creations have been sky rocketing recently. (He used to sell his creations at E-bay ).

    I also have a mummified mermaid created by Takeshi Yamada who lives in Coney Island, New York. His mermaid is made of a real fish, acrylic polymer, metal, and some unidentified animal body parts. (His bigger mermaids are made of woods, fibers and body parts of animals.) Yamada has been creating “rogue taxidermy” for over 40 years and published 11 books. He shows his artworks at about 40 exhibitions annually around the world. He created over five hundred rogue taxidermy artworks and has been showing them at traveling circus sideshows, museums and art galleries all over America. I really enjoyed his lecture on creative taxidermy at American Museum of Natural History last summer. He was also featured in the documentary film created by the museum. He brought about 3 dozens of rogue taxidermy artworks and talked about them. Some are made of all real animal body parts. Others are combination of natural and man-made materials. His website is also awesome. Yamada also give lectures at school regularly, and his horseshoe crab warrior masks and taxidermy gaffs have been copied by students at art classes in many public schools in America today.

    In recent years, many young artists in Japan started copying the art and culture of American circus sideshow. They are copying anything shown at midways, basically. Such young artists include Emoto (all paper-made models), Gakuchan (all cray-made models), Mr. Hanaaruki (his high quality “specimen model” of Snouter was featured in the real classroom book used at public schools in Japan), etc. None of these young artists in Japan exhibited their taxidermy artworks at any sideshows or galleries in America. They do not create any mummified mermaids at all today. I wonder today’s Japanese artists lost the religious faith in mermaids like thei ancestors. (Many Buddhist temples enshrine mummified mermaids.)

    PS. I just finished reading fascinating articles about mermaids written by Takeshi Yamada in his website page. I am looking forward to reading his new book to be published soon. ( )

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