Saturday, May 21, 2011

Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

It is an axiom that one takes far greater advantage of available cultural opportunities when one is traveling than when one is at home. This afternoon I visited the "Museum of Nature and the Hunt", which is right in the neighborhood, on the Rue des Archives. I had a spectacular time.

The museum is housed in a gorgeous 17th century mansion, the Hôtel de Guénégaud. In addition to the permanent collection, there was a temporary exhibition of photographs, called "Animonuments", which consisted of a hundred or so extremely witty photos of animals, interacting with people, or with their surroundings, in various eye-catching ways. Here are two of my favorite photos from that exhibition:

Then there was the permanent collection. My favorite part, hands down, was the "Cabinet of Curiosities". Here are just two of the reasons why:

Catholic readers will have no trouble recognizing the first of the two pictures above as a monstrance, even if its use has been perverted to display an ostrich egg, rather than the Body of Christ. But it is the second image which leaves me, frankly, rapturous. It is a (very rare) picture of unicorn fewmets.

Unicorn fewmets. How awesome is that? If I were to die tonight, it would be with a beatific grin on my face.

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