Peking Ducks

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With a population of only 9000 residents, the small Russian village of Bogorodskoye is still famously known for its hand-carved wooden toys that bear the village’s namesake:  the Bogorod toy, a craft that has been generationally passed down over the last 500 years.

Oddly, most of the websites I found referring to the traditional Bogorod toys seem to indicate that they are ONLY made in Bogorodskoye and nowhere else!  Accurate or not, it’s as if our fellow comrades were permitted to build these playful wonders, but ONLY within the confines of their tiny village.  I would argue that it bears some resemblance to the questionable circumstances surrounding Eduard Khil and his “offendingly western-positive” lyrics that led to Mr. Trololo.  Trolololo-lo-lololo-lololo…

Unfortunately, between being out of town both weekends, sickness, hockey, baseball, and, of course, this week being what it was, I’ve had very little time to work on the wood.  I had much grander plans, but I’m afraid the “spit and polish” on this one will be very lacking!  But I think the prototype is enough to see its potential.
Behold…
          The Bogorod Pecking Chickens
…only…well, my inability to paint has also struck again!  So, although I had intended it to be pecking chickens — a platter of poultry, if you will — it ended up more resembling a sord of ducks…apparently, very confused ducks with chicken-pecking tendencies…pecking ducks.
…or, should I say…Peking Ducks.  :)
Historically, the Bogorod toys are modelled after Russian peasant life, paying homage to everyday labour.  I am not Russian; however, I am Chinese.  And although I’ve only seen a Peking Duck in it’s cooked form, I can only assume the name is in its home, rather than its breed, and am therefore paying homage to my own culture.  :)
In any case, the toy-science coming out of Russia seems very hush-hush.  But as far as I can tell, it’s a simple mechanic combining centrifugal (not to be confused with centripetal) force and distributed tension.  As the paddle is moved in a circular motion, the hanging weight follows.  This alternates the string tension to each of the four ducks, animating their heads a different intervals.
And now for a quick demonstration:
Song:  Trololo
Artist:  Eduard Khil (The Trololo Guy), 1966
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3 thoughts on “Peking Ducks”

  1. Ha! Is your profile picture something from Aardman? I was totally thinking of the Creature Comforts animations when I was framing the top photo!

  2. LOVE the Peking Ducks, Mike! I have one with chickens that, I believe, were made in Portugal (but one of the strings broke). Good on you, to name them after your Asian ancestry – way to OWN IT!Suz

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