Tipu’s Tiger

The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

Life size 18th century automaton of tiger eating European man from the Victoria and Albert MuseumLife size 18th century automaton of tiger eating European man from the Victoria and Albert Museum (detail of face)Life size 18th century automaton of tiger eating European man from the Victoria and Albert Museum (detail of inner workings)Tipu’s (or Tippoo’s) Tiger is a life-sized wooden mechanical organ made around 1793, depicting a tiger mauling a man in European clothing. When the crank is turned, a hidden mechanism causes the man’s arm to goes up and down, and plays his wails of agony along the growls of the tiger. Under a flap on the tiger’s body there is also a small pipe organ, which can play 18 notes.

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