Musical automaton "Zulma, the Snake-Charmer"

    Musical automaton "Zulma, the Snake-Charmer"

    France, Paris


    Gaston Decamps

    Papier-mache, wood, metal, fabric; embroidery, mechanical works, carpentry

    Height 92 сm



    The figure of a dark-skinned girl made of papier-mâché is mounted on a wooden stand painted with white enamel. A metal plate with a coin slot is on the back side there is on the upper side of the stand that is covered with velvet rug. An aperture for the crank and a start / stop button is on the rear side. At the bottom of A pull-out drawer for coins is in the bottom. A musical movement with sound comb and cylinder for four tunes is mounted inside the stand. The girl is dressed in the dress made of colored fabric of pink shades, decorated with sequins, pearls and embroidery with metal thread. Wide scarf with lace, metal thread and colored fringe at the ends is tied on her waist. Gilded metal bracelets with transparent colorless, blue and pink gems are on the girl’s wrists and ankles. Openwork gilded hoop with large pendants in the form of flowers is on her head, a necklace with geometric pattern is on her neck. In the girl’s right hand is Gilded pipe is in the girl’s right hand. She holds a long, hanging down, snake with her left hand. The mechanisms of the automaton and jukebox are activated when the coin is dropped down. The figure of the girl moves - the right hand brings the pipe to her mouth; the head tilts left and right, the eyelids lower and rise. The snake moves its head from side to side; the musical movement plays one of four melodies.

    Perhaps the bronze figurine “Snake charmer” by the German sculptor Josef Wind (Josef Wind (1864-1898) was the prototype of the automaton. Several original versions of the sculpture, executed in alabaster exist.