The Dragons of Malaysia
Among the artifacts of various island peoples was a fantastic display of some of the unique Fauna of the islands. Proudly displayed amongst them were a few skeletons of the only recently discovered “dragons” from the tiny island of Titiwbala off the coast of Borneo.
Damn I wish that were true.
I actually just finished a project that I wanted to share. It’s the second in a series of sculptures done in the style of museum pieces.
A while back I realized that the same dinosaur display that I had seen when I was a child, one that told me about the huge, cold-blooded, reptilian dinosaurs was still standing, but now it told a story of colorful ancestors of birds. Nothing had changed except some text. Upon closer inspection it even had caveats that declared that it was only current consensus. I have to assume that the old text said the same, but those statements were washed away by the Museum Effect.
I may have just made up that term.
The Museum Effect is how the dim lighting, glass cases, Latin subscript, dry copy, hushed tones and felt ropes all combine to give an aura of truth and infallibility. The display style for artifacts of historical worth has become so universally accepted that one can co-opt those same rules to create a compelling lie.
So I thought I’d try.
I started by eating a lot of chicken. I also ate some turkey. I then gathered their bones and cleaned them carefully before bleaching them in peroxide.
The first thing to assemble was the wings. There are very few bones that are appropriate for the phalanges of a wing and the rest of the body needs to be proportioned with respect to those.
The rest of the body could now be assembled with the wings as a guide. The bones are first drilled using a tiny bit in a pin vise and then pinned and glued together. This makes the structure strong enough to be self supporting.
Despite my best efforts, I have not been able to breed a chicken with an appropriate skull, so that had to be crafted out of polymer clay. It is first roughed out based on the proportions of the body.
Once hardened, the skull can be carved to give it dinosauresque features and teeth and a jaw can be added.
Finally the skull can be painted and attached to the body. Getting the paint to match the natural colour of the bones is a challenge. Even more so in different lighting conditions.
For a final touch of artificial legitimacy, an engraved metal label is added including both a common and faux-Latin name.