An 18th Century robot plays her dulcimer

Naked of her dress, 
we see her workings.
(Click to enlarge)

She is called an android because she was not imitating but actually performing her task:
"This famous android was a collaborative effort by two Germans. Clockmaker Peter Kintzing created the mechanism and joiner David Roentgen crafted the cabinet; the dress dates from the 19th century. Automatons were in circulation and aroused much curiosity. Roentgen probably sent the tympanum to the French court and Marie-Antoinette bought it in 1784. The queen, aware of its perfection and scientific interest, had it deposited in the Academy of Sciences cabinet in 1785. The tympanum is a musical instrument that plays eight tunes when the female android strikes the 46 strings with two little hammers. Tradition has it that she is a depiction of Marie-Antoinette."
It is also said that the dress is from one of Queen Marie-Antoinette's dresses, and the robot's hair is from the queen's head.

In 1866, the mechanism was donated to the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers and restored by the magician and clockmaker Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.

The Marie-Antoinette Android


More details of the Marie-Antoinette Android


- The tympanum player, Sciences and Curiosities at the Court of Versailles>>
- For more on French automatons, read (the text is online): Robert-Houdin and the Vogue of the Automaton-Builders, Crescendo of the Virtuoso. Spectacle, Skill, and Self-Promotion in Paris during the Age of Revolution by Paul Metzner, University of California Press>>

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