The Animals of Different Cultures
Crowdsourcing an Exhibit
One of our messages at the Biblical Museum of Natural History is about how every nation has animals that are part of its cultural heritage - the subjects of art, stories, names of children, and so on. These are the animals that are indigenous to the lands where these cultures are from. And the animals of our Jewish heritage are the animals of the Torah - which are the animals of Biblical Israel. Accordingly, learning about the animals of Israel helps us understand our heritage better, and further illustrates our indigenous connection to the land.
To convey this concept, I want to create an enormous map of the world, twelve feet wide, on which will be mounted artifacts in various countries which illustrate animals (and perhaps plants) playing their role in the cultural heritage of those nations. For example, Australia could have a boomerang with a picture of a kangaroo, Arabia could have a falconer's glove, Greenland could have a whale tooth with scrimshaw, and so on.
I am unsure about regions such as North America; I haven’t yet decided if it should be just Native American art featuring animals, or also cultural items from modern European colonial cultures, such as the US presidential seal featuring a bald eagle, the logo of the Toronto bluejays, and so on. (I’d welcome discussion on this point.)
If you have any ideas of things that we can include - or even actual artifacts to donate - please let me know! To clarify, I’m not looking for names of animals that are part of different cultures, but rather artistic or cultural items which feature the animals that are part of those cultures. And it shouldn’t be animals that were imported or are invasive from elsewhere, such as French Gallic roosters (which come from China), Israeli sabra plants (which are from Mexico), or New York pizza rats (which come from Norway).
Thank you for your input!
Rationalist Judaism is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.