The sculpture, Rhinocéros was produced in 1878 by Henri Alfred Jacquemart to coincide with the Paris World Fair in the same year. It was initially displayed at the Trocadéro Palace and is currently housed outside the Musee d’Orsay.

In 19th century Europe and America racial typology developed as a science of measurement and difference that ultimately sought biological evidence to justify racism and imperialism. The spectacle of difference also became a public amusement. The 1878 World Fair was the first to display human zoos, presenting people from the French colonies of Tahiti, Senegal and Indo-China. Prior to this, wildlife trader and zoo owner Carl Hagenbeck had presented exhibitions of Inuit and Nubian peoples at the Tierpark, Hamburg and Isidore Geoffroy de Saint-Hilaire, a zoologist and authority on the deviaation from normal structure, had similarly done so at Jardin Zoologique d’Acclimatation in Paris. In 2005 the Ausburg Zoo in Germany presented an African Village with cultural performances.