"Petrified Man and Horse" 
1872, upstate New York
212 cm ~ Cement


In 1869 America was electrified by the discovery of the so-called "Cardiff Giant," allegedly the petrified body of one of the "giants in the earth" mentioned in the Bible. It was a hoax contrived by a get-rich-quick schemer, who indeed became quite wealthy overnight from his creation, so much so that P.T. Barnum, "The American Humbug" fabricated his own giant to cash in on the craze. 

Barnum wasn't the only one. Petrified giants began popping up all over the place, and their creators began trying to outdo one another, as in the subject piece, improbable as it may seem to us. 

The rage died out shortly after the discovery of the Petrified Locomotive in Cranston, Iowa. As Barnum himself put it, "There's one born every minute, but let's get a grip here."

 

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