A picture of gorgeousness she’s not, but she’s still one of the stars of an exhibit slated to open at the Canadian Museum of Civilization next week.
Estimated to be around 100 years old, the Feejee Mermaid — called “the very incarnation of ugliness,” by a U.S. newspaper back in her younger days — settled into her new home for the next four months as a part of the Mythic Beasts: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids exhibit at the museum yesterday.
The Feejee Mermaid, a common feature of sideshows such as the Barnum and Bailey Circus, was presented as the mummified body of a creature that was half mammal, half fish. The “mermaid” is actually the torso and head of a monkey sewn to the back half of a fish.
This artifact was rediscovered in a museum collection in 1973 and has been travelling with an exhibit spearheaded by the American Museum of Natural History.
The exhibit also includes models of creatures including the kraken (a giant squid), a roc (a giant bird), a sasquatch and a dragon, as well explains how they figure into cultures around the world.
The dragon, for example, said Canadian Museum of Civilization spokeswoman Melissa Hart, is portrayed differently in eastern and western cultures.
The exhibit “totally caters to families,” Hart said.
There has always been a fascination with mythical creatures and fantasy, Hart said. “And this is an opportunity for the young and old to find out what it’s all about.”