A Sable Antelope

Taxidermy is a profession of its own, even an art. An art that only few people have mastered. We allow you a look into our kitchen. Maurice Bouten, a taxidermist who has won many awards,is going to mount a sable antelope and to tell the story that goes with it…

(Click on the images for full size images)

Tanned hide of the Sable Antelope


“When the body of the animal comes in it is skinned first. The flesh and the bones are removed. The skin stays in a tanning bath for three weeks and is then cut very thin – the skin must be very flexible so that it can be handled well. After that the skin is treated with an anti-moth soap, so that no little animals can settle there. Finally the skin is treated with acid and fat.

The hide and the form of the Sable Antelope Nowadays mostly ready-made models, made of epoxy foam, are used in taxidermy. We have hundreds of different models in stock. Most of them have been made in our own workshop. The model for the sable antelope comes from America.

Adjusting the form of the Sable Antelope The model is then touched up according to the wishes of the customer. After all, later on the animal has to stand with its forelegs on a “pedestal”.

Mounting the horns on the Sable Antelope Then the skin is pulled over the head. After that the horns, originating from a museum, are screwed onto the head, the nose is made to measure and the eyes, made of glass, are mounted. The inside of the ears is covered with a layer of glass fibre polyester, which makes them stand up nicely.

Placing the skin over the body of the Sable Antelope The skin is placed over the rest of the body, glued and stitched up. We start the stitching up at the neck and then work slowly towards the rear. When we have arrived there we put on the tail, made of iron wire, woodwool and cotton wool. Subsequently the hooves are shaped and thelast bit of skin is stitched up. Then we go for the finishing touch.

Finishing the eyes of the Sable Antelope After the specimen has dried for three weeks, the materials remaining from the mounting process are removed. With a compressor all the dust is blown from the skin. Finally the edges of the eyes and the inside of the nose are filled. The eyes and the nose are glazed and given a glow. It’s the details that count!

The mounted Sable Antelope is ready After about two months the man-sized specimen is finished. Altogether it has taken at least forty hours of work”.