An Imposing Early 20thC Mounted Taxidermy Sable Antelope Skull & Horns


Origin: African
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900-25
Height: 31 inches (at maximum)
Width: 24 inches (at maximum)
Depth: 13.5 inches (at maximum)
Mount Width: 5.5 inches

The large sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) ringed horns arching backward flanking the skull presented on a rough-hewn wooden mount and bracket survives from the first quarter of the twentieth century.

The condition of the whole is good and sturdy, the wooden mount continues on through the whole and into the nasal cavity to form part of the whole as a composition. There is some small loss to the skull but the piece has a pleasing amount of colour and patination showing its age and had a mounting hook present ready for display.

The sable antelope is a large species which inhabits wooded savannah in East Africa, the south of Kenya, and in Southern Africa. When sable antelopes are threatened by predators, including lions, they will confront it, using their scimitar-shaped horns. Many of these big cats have died during such fights. Horns are efficient weapons and tend to be better developed in those species where males fight over females, like the Sable, than in solitary or lekking species. With male-male competition for mates, horns are clashed in combat and males more commonly use their horns against each other than against another species. The boss of the horns is typically arranged in such a way that two antelope striking at each other's horns cannot crack each other's skulls, making a fight via horn more ritualised than dangerous. Sable also use the side of their horns for scratching themselves.

This has a rough, uncultured, and raw feel about it making it an edgy decorative piece with real age.