These dramatic images of burning animals elicit a strong emotional response. Even though you know they’re mounted animals, it feels like the crackling flames bring them back to life.
Trophies have long served as powerful symbols, their exact meaning varying with context. When colonialists began killing animals in the countries they considered “their colonies”, naturally they wanted to exhibit these lions, giraffes, buffalos, tigers, leopards, wolves, elephants and many other now endangered species – and an entire industry centred on taxidermy blossomed. The animals were mounted in positions that we humans consider typical of the symbolic values we’ve assigned them.