16th century automaton replicates "prayer and trance"

Tradition says that a 16th century mechanical monk, now owned by the Smithsonian Institution, was created by Juanelo Turriano for Spanish Emperor Charles V. The monk walks, prays, and kisses a wooden cross. (photo and video)

Article author Elizabeth King writes:

Looking at this object in the museum today, one wonders: what did a person see and believe who witnessed it in motion in 1560? The uninterrupted repetitive gestures, to us the dead giveaway of a robot, correspond exactly in this case to the movements of disciplined prayer and trance.