Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Fiji Mermaid

The Figi Mermaid in Sepia
Here is a digitally altered art piece I created awhile back called:
"The Figi Mermaid"
This piece was inspired by the old circus/carnival posters and sideshow images, from the legend of the figi mermaid, which is what I have fittingly called this piece.
The Legend:
The Fiji mermaid (also Feejee mermaid) was a common feature of sideshows. During the Renaissance and the Baroque eras, it was a staple of wunderkammers. They were often people afflicted of sirenomelia or a dugong.It is presented as a mummified body of something, supposedly a creature that was half mammal and half fish (like a grotesque version of normal mermaid stories).

The original exhibit was popularized by circus great P.T. Barnum, but has since been copied many times in other attractions, including the collection of famed showman Robert Ripley. The original exhibit was shown around the United States, but was supposedly lost in the 1860s when Barnum's museum caught fire. The exhibit has since been acquired by Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and is currently housed in the museum's attic storage area.

The Fiji mermaid came into Barnum's possession via his Boston counterpart Moses Kimball, who brought it down to Barnum in late spring of 1842. On June 18, Barnum and Kimball entered into a written agreement to exploit this "curiosity supposed to be a mermaid." Kimball would remain the creature's sole owner and Barnum would lease it for $12.50 a week. Barnum christened his artifact "The Feejee Mermaid" and began to "puff" her to the skies. In Barnum's exhibit, the mermaid was allegedly caught in 1842 by a "Dr. J. Griffin." Griffin was actually Levi Lyman, one of Barnum's close associates.
I just love the mystery surrounding this legend, My question to you: Is it real, does she exist?, or is it a Hoax, another ploy to drum up business by Mr.Barnum? I'll let you decide....
The following site has loads of info on the Mysterious Fiji Mermaid

Cryptozoology is the study of "hidden""Mysterious" animals!


  1. Is it still possible to join in on tomorrow's fun festivities?? I would love to be a part of it.

  2. Hi! I added my name to your other blog but forgot to add it here:) See you tomorrow~

    Du Buh Du Designs

  3. one more try...put your carnival soiree up on my blog. I would love to be a part of tomorrows magic...

    HiHo Heidi

  4. Lisa, this is so interesting. Thank you


  5. How wonderful!! Gorgeous art, as always. Mandy x

  6. Such wonderful Info I LOVE THIS! I can't wait to read more:)
    Your artwork is so amazing love it!

  7. What a bargin 12.50? You know he made so much more than that! I'm sure it was a huge attraction! He was such a fabulous promoter~

  8. How interesting, thanks for something new to ponder!

  9. So glad you like it!
    I'm currently into the hole legend of the fiji mermaid, these few posts are dedicated to that!

    Magic and Joy!

  10. As always an excellent posting.The
    way you write is awesome.Thanks. Adding more information will be more useful.