Clockwork Prayer: Mechanical Monk, Cira 1560
Since I saw this on Boing Boing, I’m sure it’s already gotten quite a bit of buzz. But I can’t deny you guys a 16th Century mechanical monk if you haven’t seen him yet.
In the Smithsonian Institution is a sixteenth-century automaton of a monk, made of wood and iron, 15 inches in height. Driven by a key-wound spring, the monk walks in a square, striking his chest with his right arm, raising and lowering a small wooden cross and rosary in his left hand, turning and nodding his head, rolling his eyes, and mouthing silent obsequies. From time to time, he brings the cross to his lips and kisses it. After over 400 years, he remains in good working order.
Watch it in action:
And read a bit more about this lovely oddity on The Blackbird Archive.