Musical automaton "Cakewalk dancer"

    Musical automaton "Cakewalk dancer"

    France, Paris


    Roullet & Decamps

    Papier-mache, leather, wood, metal, fabric, rubberized fabric; sewing, mechanical work, woodwork, painting

    85 x 47 x 32 cm, 7 kg


    Musical automaton depicting dark-skinned boy standing by a palm tree with green leaves on oval pedestal covered with red velvet. The boy has a papier-mache head, black skin, plush red lips, brown glass eyes with moving eyelids, and dark curly hair. He is wearing white shirt with large collar and a bow tie, lace cuffed sleeves, yellow tailcoat with long flaps, red vest with buttons, red pants with yellow and green stripes, gray knitted socks on the feet, leather gray-brown shoes with braid. A rod is in his the right hand. Control mechanism with eight cams and musical movement with pinned barrel, sound comb and spring motor are mounted in the body.
    Winding key and on / off lever are on the right side surface. When the mechanism is turned on, the melody sounds, the dancer's hands move up and down synchronously, setting the rhythm of the dance, the head and torso lean right and left, the eyes blink, the mouth smiles wider, the legs turn from the hip and move to the rhythm of the steppe, touching the surface with toe or heel. The cakewalk was a dance accompanied by banjo, guitar, or mandolin with rhythmic patterns typical of ragtime: syncopated rhythm and brief, unexpected pauses on the downbeat. The cakewalk - the dance of slaves - appeared in the southern part of the United States at the end of the 19th century, as a mockery of the slave owners’ Menuet.