Chimera

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without at least two hours visiting the Museo de la historia naturale. As well as dinosaur fossils, taxidermy, and a bizarre hunting-trophy room there is this example of a Chimera:

Venice Mermaid - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Title: Chimera
Catalogue number: MSNVE-16723
Dating: presumably XIX° century

I love how badly this mermaid is done. Some parts are wood, some mammalian and some fish. I hate to think of the excitement of the person who paid a high price for such a rarity, believing it to be real, and the joy of the faker at their subterfuge. A Chimera is a mythical beast from Ancient Greek mythology. It was a fire-breathing female monster with a lion at the front, a goat in the middle, and a dragon behind. Now that, I would like to see.

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