Meet the themed exhibition "Circus Parade!" characters

Another character of the exhibition "Circus Parade" that has been recently opened in the museum Collection is musical automaton "The Clown Playing Diabolo", created in 1875 in France, in the workshop of Gustave Vichy.
Musical automaton in the form of a clown’s figure is mounted on wooden rectangular stand. Clown head, neck and hands are from papier-mâché; his brown glass eyes are moving. The clown holds sticks with threads and flamboyant medallion. Musical movement with sound comb, pinned cylinder, spring drive and automation movement is mounted in the stand. The crank for winding and activating lever are on the stand rear side. When the movement is activated, music sounds, the clown’s head and eyes turn left and right, the upper part of his torso leans to both sides, the clown alternately raises and lowers his hands, the medallion moves along the thread and rotates.

A diabolo is a toy in the shape of two similar cones connected by their tops. It is unwound with a strong rope that has special sticks at the ends, one in each hand. Diabolo can be used to perform a variety of tricks, both on the rope itself and on the sticks. "Diabolo" (from the Greek διαβάλλω diabállô) means, "throw through". The idea of the game most likely originated in China* where the top part of the toy was made of two hollow cylinders of metal or wood and connected by a rod, often of large size. Chinese yo-yos have a longer axle with discs on both ends, while a diabolo has a very short axle and large round cups on both ends. Diabolo should be distinguished from yo-yo, a popular toy consisting of two discs of equal size and weight, fastened together by an axle to which a rope is looped. Unlike the yo-yo, the diabolo is not tied to a rope.
Missionaries introduced the game to Europe from China. A variant of the game perfected by Lord McCartney was known in England in the late 18th century. Chinese diabolos were made of bamboo. During the Victorian era, wooden diabolos were known in Britain. The toy became widespread in France in 1812. Old drawings have survived to illustrate its popularity at the time. The diabolo then resembled a ball-shaped wooden dumbbell with the narrow central part and ringing sound made when rotated. 
Gustave Philippart (1861-1933) first patented the rubber diabolo in 1905. Gustave Philippart and his partner Charles Burgess Fry (1872-1956), a famous sportsman and publisher of a popular sports magazine, introduced the basic skills of spinning, throwing, catching and different types of interaction with sticks, string (cord) and the object "diabolo" in the form of two metal cups with the edges protected by rubber. Philippart named the toy "diabolo". The word has nothing to do with the word "devil". The game evolved both as a competition in the skill of performing certain tricks and as "diabolo tennis" - throwing coils over each other.

Modern diabolos are still sometimes made of metal, but more often of plastic or rubber. By the end of the 20th century, rubberized plastic was implemented for the first time. A huge variety of tricks can be performed with this unusual and small projectile. The simplest act of manipulating the diabolo is spinning it on a string. The rotation of the diabolo can be accelerated by various methods -- the "whip" spins the diabolo faster by moving one handle in front of the user's body and beside the other handle; the "wrap" rotates the diabolo faster as the user winds the loop of rope around the axis; the "wrap" spins the diabolo faster when the user winds the loop. Both methods increase the degree of contact between the string and the axis. Juggling multiple diabolos’ is used in circus numbers such as the Cirque du Soleil "Quidam" show.

In Moscow, a similar number can be seen performed by the Kalashnikov brothers at the Nikulin Circus in Tsvetnoy Boulevard. Artem and Dmitry juggle six diabolo in combination with acrobatic tricks. Every year, the Russian Diabolo Championship is organized. This is where all the Diabolo players come together, compete and share their experiences. Both artisanship and artistry are assessed. The Russian Diabolo Players Association with the support of the International Diabolo Players Association hosts the competition. During the championship, the competitive battles, demonstrations and workshop session were held. All those who participated received certificates of compliance at the end. Many tricks are possible with diabolo, including tossing, different types of interaction with sticks, rope and various parts of the performer body. Once the spinning speed achieves the level sufficient to stabilize a diabolo, the user can perform tricks. Experienced players can make it spin at 2,000 rotations per minute.

* The game was invented in China circa the 12th century; the original version is now called "Chinese yo-yo”