It may seem a bit macabre today, but in Victorian times–when the art of taxidermy was pioneered–it was considered quite fashionable to decorate one’s home with stuffed and mounted dead creatures. Since that time, taxidermy has been mostly the dominion of elderly movie villains, hardcore hunters, and overly attached pet owners.
But like many other weird bygones, taxidermy is experiencing a recent surge in popularity. Shops like Paxton Gate nestle comfortably among record stores and coffee shops in the hipper districts of major cities.
In celebration of the this “dead revival” and the beginning of this morbid month of October, here are some of the strange and beautiful departed Etsy has to offer.
Virginiathewolf hails from gloomy and fashionable London, an attitude embodied in their jewelry. Their pieces are made from real animal bones, painted and spangled into one-of-a-kind art pieces. Their store is definitely worth a look. The above are rabbit skull necklaces, which buyers can customize by color and design.
Fans of the Hannibal Lecter series will remember this moth from Silence of the Lambs movie (it’s also pictured on the poster).
There are technically three species of similar moths under the name Death’s Head. The one sold by BugUnderGlass is Acherontia styx. Below is a better picture of the markings that give the group their name.
I’m a long time fan of BugUnderGlass, owned by Kevin Clark of San Francisco. Kevin does amazing work preserving beautiful butterflies and other fascinating and rare insects . Check out his store here.
The Danish store differs from the other shops on this list in that they sell vintage items instead of handmade creations. They have a wide selection of antique curiousities. There’s quite a bit of taxidermied birds, which includes some full specimens in addition to the mounted head style, like the one above.
The shop Wolf King bills itself as “the original home of the tentacle jar”, and I’m not really in a position to dispute that claim. I can assert that their store has a wide selection of creepy and awesome wet specimens for purchasing, like the above Baby Octopus.
There’s a lot of skulls and bones to buy on Etsy, but few are as elegant as the pieces from OddlyCustomCreations. This one features a bat skeleton articulated in mid-flight encased in a large glass dome.