Friday, May 16, 2008

The Czar's Pangolin...

Yes, Peter the Great had a stuffed one. Back then, even a stuffed pangolin must have sent some imaginations spiraling. For that matter, how many of us today know anything about this walking pine cone. Many believe that just looking at one can be a therapeutic experience.

Where did Peter the Great get a stuffed pangolin? He had begun to purchase extensive natural history collections during his pre-Petersburgian travels in the West, with an eye to the development of science in Russia. Albertus Seba was a wealthy Dutch apothecary, merchant and traveler whose collection of natural history objects was the largest of its kind in his day. His collection would form the nucleus of the Russian national collections in St. Petersburg after purchase by Peter. Today the collection resides in the Kunstkammer Museum located on the banks of the Neva in the center of St.Petersburg.

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