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Topic: Bizarre piece of Victorian Kitsch *New* With picture of matching earrings!  (Read 25163 times)
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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2006 02:07:45 PM »

Yeah, thats the victorians for you, they had a thing for taxidermy....

Unusual animals were seen as a must have to own, allowed you to show off your status (Especially in the UK as you had to ship them in from the far reaches Cheesy). Victorians had an obsession with hummingbirds during the Art Nouveau period... they used them everywhere. They hunted them, they had them as pets, they made crafts of them and with them  Undecided.

With the rush of new discoveries both botanical and zoological of the late victorian period, people wanted to show off, what they'd seen/collected/visited. But while there was that facination they had no interest in conservation or preservation of wildlife. Maybe because it was so new, but more likely due to the mentality of the time... They had no qualms about using nature to accentuate their lives. To us it seems barbaric but then it wasn't seen that way at all, simply utilising a resource.

If it was a hunting thing then usually they were used as symbolic trophies, the more exotic the better, and were stuffed or made into things.

In the case of pets, when they died they would have been preserved, thus the jewellery continued the whole showing off process. Victorians liked to keep their pets... especially if they were unusual or expensive, or pretty.

Animals were also very important for victorian symbolism, for example flies symbolized fidelity, Rabbit foot symbolised luck etc. They tended to collect animals depending on what they wanted to represent.

Again today this would be awful, but you have to consider that you're looking at it from a retrosepctive point of view. Thats not to say that I agree with what they did but you've got to admire the ingenuity that they coveted.

EDIT: Sorry for the long post, I'm an archaeologist with modern archaeology as one of my interests, I sometimes get a bit carried away!

Example of hummingbird inspired victorian ironwork (reproduction example)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2006 02:16:22 PM by GingaNic » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2006 02:37:10 PM »

I've nothing against taxidermy; I think it's a good idea to use up as much of the animal as you can. If you're going to eat beef anyway, you may as well stuff the cow's head or carve the horns and bones or use the leather for something. But if you're not going to eat the rest of the hummingbird, there's not much point in killing them just for the earrings.

How rare are hummingbirds? Just out of interest.
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« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2006 06:49:13 PM »

You don't need to feel bad for the length of your post, Ginganic. Really, thank you for sharing that with me! I was slightly familiar with the Victorian's love of taxidermy, but I never knew of the animal symbolism, and it sounds very interesting. Furthermore, your words helped put the earrings into perspective, and aided me in understanding the motives behind using birds as jewelry. In a strange way, I suppose, I am similar to the Victorians in posting this: collecting something odd and exotic, a curiosity. Thank you so much Gingernic and everyone else for your comments, I have enjoyed reading them very much.
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« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2006 09:30:58 PM »

I realize its a hundred years ago but that doesn't lessen the shock of  it for me really (I could go into a lengthy discussion on this point but it wouldn't be useful  Cheesy) .  And thanks so much for all the background info Ginganic, I think it helped everyone understand the reasons these objects were made.  I watched a show the other day that corelated to this point, saying the rich in the Victorian society owned many domesticated pets - because the more "unuseful" animals you owned demonstrated the wealth you had.

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« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2006 09:14:19 AM »

OMG, I would faint also!



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« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2006 06:04:28 PM »

all i can say is i'm speechless. i can only imagine what the necklace looks like.

« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2006 06:30:46 PM »

That's hilarious... in a really sick way. I can understand leather and fur, but once you start using the head of an animal as a fashion accessory, I think you've crossed the line. Thank goodness it was a quick fad!

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« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2006 07:44:03 PM »

To be honest, it wasn't a fad... it was a long term, I guess you could say 'obsession' that ran way into the 20th Century through and past the victorian era... You could argue it still goes on today (Or rather relatively 'today')... with rabbits feet keyfobs etc... (Not counting the use of fur as thats a seperate issue really, not jewellery adornment).

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« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2006 09:15:32 PM »

Have you ever seen a proper fox fur shrug, with the head and paws intact?
They're a bit wiggy at first, specially cos the one I saw had magnets in the floppy paws , so you could flop them about and snap them together, or in the fox's mouth.
After the initial heeby-jeebys, I kinda had fun with them. Sorry if anyone finds that gross

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« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2006 07:00:36 PM »

I don't find that gross. Smiley That's one of my activities whenever I go into the city - finding a thrift store and stroking all the furs. "Fake, real, REALLY fake, real..." Tongue

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