- Museum number
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.
- Production date
- 18thC (?)
Height: 16.20 centimetres (wooden case)
Length: 38 centimetres (figure)
Weight: 539 grammes (wooden case)
Width: 42 centimetres (wooden case)
Depth: 16.20 centimetres (wooden case)
- Curator's comments
From acquisition notes "mermaid".
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.'
- On display (G1/wp155)
- Exhibition history
2017-2018 Oct-Feb, London, The British Library, Harry Potter: A History of Magic
- Acquisition date
- Registration number