Matthias Buchinger

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Matthias Buchinger
Matthewbuchinger.jpg
Born (1674-06-03)June 3, 1674
Germany
Died January 1, 1740(1740-01-01) (aged 65)

Matthias Buchinger (June 3, 1674 – 1740), sometimes called Matthew Buckinger in English, was a German artist, magician and illustrator,[1] born without hands or legs.

Biography[edit]

He was born in Ansbach, Germany, without hands or lower legs. An artist and performer, he demonstrated his accomplishments at many courts and became known as the "Little Man from Nuremberg".[2] He travelled to England trying to get a court appointment with King George I; unsuccessful, he then moved to Ireland where he gave public demonstrations, in Dublin in 1720 and in Belfast in 1722. Buchinger was married four times and had at least 14 children (by eight women). He is also rumored to have had children by up to 70 mistresses.[3][4] Buchinger's fame was so widespread that in the 1780s the term "Buckinger's boot" existed in England as a euphemism for the vagina (because the only "limb" he had was his penis).[5] In addition to conjuring, Buchinger enjoyed a great reputation as an engraver and an artist. Buchinger died in Cork.

The detailed writing embedded in the engraving

Despite his having small, finlike appendages for hands, his engravings were incredibly detailed. One such engraving, a self-portrait, was so detailed that a close examination of the curls of his hair revealed that they were in fact seven biblical psalms and the Lord's Prayer, inscribed in miniature letters.[3]

Despite his handicap Buchinger was an accomplished magician, causing balls to disappear from under cups and birds to appear from nowhere. It was also said that he was unbeatable at cards and would dazzle audiences with his amazing displays of marksmanship. Buchinger liked to build ships in a bottle. He had tremendous dexterity, in spite of his disability.[6]

Buchinger's musical skills included the ability to play a half-dozen musical instruments including the dulcimer, hautboy, trumpet, and flute, some of which he invented himself.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Matthew Buchinger". Dublin Penny Journal at the National Library of Ireland. April 27, 1833. Retrieved 2009-06-03. Matthew Buchinger was born in Germany, without hands or feet, on the 3rd of June, 1674. He came over to England, from Hanover, in the retinue of George the first, with whom he expected to have ingratiated himself, by presenting to his Majesty a musical instrument of his own invention, resembling, we believe, a flute, and on which he played with considerable skill. ... 
  2. ^ J. T. Penaud. "Human Marvels:Matthew Buchinger – The Little Man of Nuremberg". Retrieved March 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Jackson, Holbrook (2001). The Anatomy of Bibliomania. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-07043-7. Matthew Buchinger, who possessed neither hands nor legs, yet he married four times, ... the lines being composed of seven Psalms and the Lord's Prayer. ... 
  4. ^ a b Jay, Ricky (June 1, 2009). "Desperately Seeking Susan". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-03. Buchinger demonstrated his skill on more than a half-dozen musical instruments (some of his own invention), danced a hornpipe and performed conjuring tricks with cups and balls, cards and dice. In front of the lord provost he fashioned a pen and with it produced a fine calligraphic document of the coat of arms of the city. The year was 1726. Buchinger was 52 years old, 29 inches tall — and, he had neither legs nor arms. ... 
  5. ^ Grose, Francis (1785). The Vulgar Tongue. 
  6. ^ Kraven, Vlad. "Time Travel Part 1: Matthew Buchinger". Magician. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 

Further reading[edit]