Rare solid wood automated Moorish dice magician figurine.
After being wound up, the figurine shows the dice on the tray with a wave of the hand, before covering them with a cup. Then he lifts the cup, revealing the dice are gone and are now sitting in his left palm. As his left hand closes, he lifts the cup to reveal the dice, back in their original place. Throughout the performance, the figurine moves his head back and forth, as if to survey the audience.
Made c.1840. Found in France. 34″ high.
The “La Carassa” Moorish man costume is used in festivals, parades and holiday celebrations in Spain. Originally the heads were used as moving ornaments on church organs, that were operated by the organist. The eyes, mouth and tongue moved and candy would pour from the mouth of the head, on special occasions.