Watch a Marie Antoinette automaton play the dulcimer

In 1784, cabinetmaker David Roentgen (1743-1807) made this astonishing automaton of Marie Antoinette playing a dulcimer as a gift for King Louis XVI to give to his queen. This fantastic contraption is in the collection of the Musée des arts et métiers de Paris. From Atlas Obscura:

When wound up, the music box mechanism moves the figure’s head and arms, making them dance across the strings and chime out a ping-y tune. The player has a repertoire of eight songs...

It’s said that the beautiful lace dress was made from fabric of one of Marie Antoinette’s dresses, and that mannequin even has some of her real hair.

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  1. A person could really lose their head over that.

  2. NANDI: It was the dulcimer
    MAL: The dulcimer drove you out of Sihnon. What, did you kill a dulcimer in a terrible passion?
    NANDI: Actually, yes.
    MAL: And now that dulcimer's family is out to get even. I get it.
    NANDI: I was at practice. You never stop practicing, you know, not a true companion. Some baroque piece, and the instructor keeps saying "You're playing it, not feeling it". And the fifth time he said it I took the damn thing and smashed it into kindling.

  3. But can it serve cake?

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