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figure

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    As1942,01.1

  • Description

    Figure of a 'mermaid' composed of the upper part of a monkey's body and a fish tail, with various additions. With wooden lidded case.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 18thC (?)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 38 centimetres (figure)
    • Height: 16.2 centimetres (wooden case)
    • Width: 42 centimetres (wooden case)
    • Depth: 16.2 centimetres (wooden case)
    • Weight: 539 grammes (wooden case)
  • Curator's comments

    From acquisition notes "mermaid".
    Register 1942:
    Japan.
    Said to have been caught over 200 years ago.From 'Fake? The Art of Deception' (BMP, 1990):
    Prominent in ancient, medieval and modern mythology, mermaids (and, less usually, mermen) were presented as three-dimensional curiosities in European drawing-rooms and popular sideshows from at least the seventeenth century. A significant number of these seem to have originated in East Asia, especially in Japan.
    Such 'mermen' consist of the dried parts of monkeys, with fish tails, probably on wood cores.
    The BM example, (displayed in the Enlightenment Gallery) was donated by HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught, and was said to have been 'caught' in Japan in the 18th century, and to have been given to Prince Arthur by one Seijiro Arisuye.Note inside box: 'H.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught, a Mermaid. Presented by Seijiro Arisuye, who keeps [sic] it for a long time, as the curiosity, caught it two hundred years ago.'

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Jones 1990a 72a bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1942

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    As1942,01.1

Figure of a 'mermaid' composed of the upper part of a monkey's body and a fish's tail with various additions. (Register, 1942). With wooden lidded case.

Figure of a 'mermaid' composed of the upper part of a monkey's body and a fish's tail with various additions. (Register, 1942). With wooden lidded case.

Image description

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Object reference number: EAS18583

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