Watch This Fighting Automaton Battle a Dragon, Crab, and Cockerel

By Esther Inglis-Arkell on at

Paris is the only place you can see Le Défenseur du Temps, a beautiful living sculpture, up close, but the internet is the only place you can see Le Défenseur du Temps at work. This fighting statue is now motionless everywhere except in video.

Le Défenseur du Temps fought for our amazement and amusement from 1979 through 2003. Created by artist Jacques Monestier, it weighs one ton and was originally powered by a circuit board. Each hour, either the cockerel, representing “air,” the dragon, representing “earth,” or the crab, representing “water,” fought the figure. At noon, all three would attack. During the attacks, tape recorders played the sound of wind, waves, or a rumbling meant to signify moving earth.

Sadly, keeping a structure like this working takes a lot of money, and eventually there was not enough set aside for the upkeep. After 2003, the giant automaton became a motionless group of statues. You can only see its gladiatorial fights in recordings.

[Source: Jacques Monestier, Cool Stuff in Paris]

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