Automaton clock in the form of an eagle

German, Augsburg

Not on view

European clocks were often, and from the outset, associated with the creation of automata—moving, mechanized figures or contrivances. Seventeenth-century Augsburg clockmakers specialized in small domestic examples. Here, when the clock strikes the hour, the scepter moves, and on the quarter hours the eagle opens and shuts its beak and rolls its eyes. The eagle emblem of the Habsburgs had special meaning for inhabitants of Augsburg, a free city with a direct allegiance to the Habsburg Holy Roman emperors.

Automaton clock in the form of an eagle, Case: gilded brass on base of ebony and ebony veneered on fruitwood; Movement: brass and iron, German, Augsburg

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