By means of tubes and bellows inside his body, this Chinaman automaton would appear to 'smoke' when a lighted cigarette was placed in his pipe. He is no longer allowed to do this, which possibly has helped him reach his present age of over 100.
A smoking Chinaman automaton (circa 1885) with a composition head, arms, hands, legs and feet. He has inset brown glass eyes, and black mohair eyebrows, moustache and pigtail. He is wearing a traditional Chinese costume consisting of a black silk robe decorated with a pink and cream floral design and a red silk lining. Underneath is a beige silk all in one outfit with pantaloon trousers and cream lace cuffs. A silk floral design brocade panel covers his chest. On his feet are red silk shoes. He wears a black hat with a high brim which hides the crown, decorated with four silver coloured discs and a circular decoration made up of pink and transparent beads. Around his neck is a large imitation pearl necklace. In his right hand he holds a pipe. On his right side is a metal key which is linked to the clockwork mechanism inside. When the key is turned the right arm raises the pipe to his mouth. The lower jaw moves, opening the mouth to expose the teeth. According to the case label, when a lighted cigarette is placed in the pipe the Chinaman puffs smoke from his mouth.
Loaned to the Museum of Childhood by the Betty Cadbury Trust Sudbury in November 1993.
Makers and roles
Gustaf Vichy, maker