When I was young, I was always afraid of those animal samples kept in natural museums. Unlike my peers who were just so glad to see those dead animals, I had to admit that sample museums were somehow creepy to me. I always thought it was so dark inside and reeked of a certain weird smell. Those reshaped dead animals were so terrifying. I used to believe in those stories about samples in the museum woke up around midnight and haunted around. Throughout primary school period, I believed that those animals were killed alive and their stomachs were hollowed and filled with things like cotton and straws and their eyes were replaced with glass balls, and that's why they haunted around after death. Even though museum workers explained that most of them died of natural courses or accidents, I always doubted about it.
Of all samples, what impressed me most would be those group samples of animal flocks. Usually they were some individual animals with different sexes and ages arranged together to present a big "family" pattern where the scene with "mother" and "her children" was always so sweet that it attracted lots of visitors. Those individual animals that probably did not have a connection with each other before death were manually stuck together by humankind and positioned behind the museum glasses forever. Besides, those exhibition sets in the hall were exquisitely designed to resemble their habitats, and even the background walls were painted with natural scenes. However these artificial scenes have boundaries, they came to an end at the grass windows or the ceilings. Not a single dust would be able to escape.
People always say that death means "no longer exists in this world". For those samples, however, death means eternal existence. These animals that died long time ago were still "staring" at all the visitors. Although these animals were lifeless, with certain lighting and arrangement, they seem to resume their spirits, and they stay still but never inanimate. Sometimes their erratic shapes remind me of Onmorakis. (In ancientJapanese mythology, the Onmoraki is the ghost created from the spirit of dead corpses.)
小时候我曾经在很长一段时间里对自然博物馆中的动物标本心存恐惧。 每当学校或幼儿园组织科普活动,与同龄小朋友的欢快心情不同, 我对去标本馆这件事总是怀有不舒服的回忆。 当时的我总觉得,那里阴暗, 而且空气中总有一种若隐若现的怪异味道。死去的动物被从新塑造的形象令人毛骨悚然。我曾经对诸如半夜博物馆里的标本在午夜会醒过来闹鬼的小故事深信不疑。我总认为那些动物是被活捉然后残忍的杀害,内脏被生生挖空然后填满了棉花稻草一类的东西,两个眼球则被挖去并换以玻璃珠取而代之,因此而阴魂不散。虽然博物馆工作人员科普这些标本大多都是病死或者意外死亡的动物制成,但对此我一直将信将疑。
所有的标本中,给我印象最深的就是展示动物 “族群”的群体场景,往往是几只公母,长幼不同的个体被安放在一起摆出一个大家庭的形态,其中母亲和幼崽的温馨场面常常令参观者驻足。这些生前互不相识的个体因为各种意外而在死后被人类挑选、汇集在一起,永恒的站立在几平方米的玻璃展厅中。展厅中的“底座”会被精心的布置成模仿其栖息地的形态,就连背景墙也被刷成自然风景画。在狭小的空间中这些虚假的场景有着非常明显的分界线,遇到展馆的玻璃窗或者天花板以后就嘎然而止,连一粒灰尘也无法冲出边界的阻隔。
人们常说死亡就是“不存在于这个世界”,但是对于这些标本而言,死亡便是其永恒的存在。这些早已死去的动物以一种永恒的眼光注视着所有的来访者。这些死者虽然没有了生气。但是在一定的光线和角度下,它们会被重新找回其“精神”,虽静止但不死滞,犹如幻灵一般。
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