Some 10,000 of the Boxer Rebellion toy were produced by Lehmann at the beginning of last century, but today only a handful are known to exist.
The inspiration behind this Lehmann toy was the brutal suppression of a bloody rebellion in China at the turn of the last century by the four greats powers of the day - England, France, Germany and Russia. The rebellion was carried out by disaffected Chinese who had formed a secret society known as the ´Harmonious Fists´, thus the term ´boxers´. They had the tacit support of the Dowager Empress at the time, but the killing of a German Minister and sieges of several of the ´great powers´ embassies provoked England, France, Germany and Russia into taking action in ending the rebellion. The `Boxers´ were known as such because of their prowess in using martial arts in attacks on Allied citizens and Chinese Christians.
The toy includes four Chinese 'coolies' holding a blanket on which they toss up and down a Boxer when the clockwork mechanism of the toy is wound up.
The 'coolies' hats are painted in the national colours of the four great powers - An obvious representation of the suppression of the rebellion, and perhaps also empasizing attempts by the four powers to maintain power and influence in the region, often resulting in competition with each other.
Here some more detailed images:
Tags: Tin Toys