About the object
This taxidermied Alpine ibex dates back to the time when the museum was founded. This taxidermy was most likely purchased especially for the Alpine fauna group.
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People have been hunting ibex since the Paleolithic times. Horns, blood and fur were considered to be magical and endowed with healing properties. This bestowal of mystical qualities almost led to the extinction of the species in Europe during the 18th century. The establishment of a royal hunting reserve in Gran Paradiso, Italy, in 1856 prevented this outcome. From as few as 100 Alpine ibexes, the population burgeoned to 3,000 animals by the end of the 19th century. This specimen was most probably purchased in 1905 with the museum's Alpine fauna group in mind. So-called fauna groups were considered to be "up-to-date" because they depicted ecological communities (biocoenosis). Although these tableaux were unnaturally concentrated, the aim was to present as many species of a given habitat as possible. This alpine ibex was placed on top of a "rock". It was featured in several exhibitions at the museum's different locations, surviving numerous removals, reconfigurations, two world wars and periods in storage. A casualty of the museum's new conception, it no longer fitted into the permanent exhibition and has since been kept in the central art depot.