Pregnant Dissection And A Dolphin Skull: The Most Eclectic Objects To Be Found In The Horniman Museum's New Gallery

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 49 months ago

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Pregnant Dissection And A Dolphin Skull: The Most Eclectic Objects To Be Found In The Horniman Museum's New Gallery
A mock up of what the World Gallery will look like.

On 29 June The Horniman Museum launches its new World Gallery and we're stoked to see it. We had a sneak peek while it was 70% finished and it's very impressive. It contains 3,000 objects covering the history of humanity across the world. If you thought an over-stuffed walrus was as out there as the Horniman collection gets, just wait until you get a load of these.

A shitty nativity

There's the baby Jesus in the manger, the three wise men and oh what's that in the corner — yes it's a man taking a dump. This isn't a prank snuck in by a mischievous child but an actual part of Nativity scenes in certain parts of Europe, this one hailing from Italy. It's called a Caganer, literally translated as 'the shitter', and it's not clear what its origins are — some suggest he's fertilising the ground, but that sounds like crap to us.

Musical assassination

How many times have we been entertaining people with music and suddenly realised we'd like to kill one of them? Well, never really, but it clearly did cross the mind of one German who closeted a sword within a clarinet. The life lesson is never to insult someone playing a woodwind instrument...


Every dairy farmer knows that if a cow isn't producing milk then it's probably been cursed — possibly by a vegan witch. Luckily Poland provides the answer with a cow unbewitcher. Place an udder through it and hey presto we have milk again.

Tribal terror

A tortoise shell with the jaws of a fish and an armadillo's tail for the nose. The description doesn't capture how scary this mask from Amazonian Brazil is. If it's designed to inspire fear then we're sold especially by those terrifying jaws.

Mole's feet

To protect against cramp English labourers used to carry mole's feet, as a superstitious amulet. So if a football match goes to extra time then really a physio should be whipping out the mole's feet.

Blinging skull

Long before Damien Hirst decided to stick some diamonds to a skull the Japanese were already at it, decorating this dolphin skull with black, gold and red lacquer. It was a curiosity displayed by rich men back when they had style, now rich men just buy up all the property in London.

Pregnant dissection

Anatomical models have always been part of medicine but this one is a tad creepier as the intestines can be lifted up to the reveal the foetus within a pregnant woman. Operation this isn't.

Doggie shoes

Moving on from the grisly pieces above, it's now time for a collective aww. These little shoes are made by the Inuit for their huskies.

The Horniman Museum's World Gallery opens on 29 June, it's part of the permanent collection and free to visit.

Last Updated 29 June 2018