The Peking Homunculi were the robotic members of the Munificent Army of Peking. It was composed of about 300 military automatons and twelve commanders. They were made by artisans of the 50th century (AUDIO: In the Year of the Cat) for the Supreme Alliance. The Fourth Doctor speculated that Magnus Greel had a part in their creation. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng-Chiang)
Their creator believed in astrology and therefore created twelve commanders, each with a cerebral cortex taken from one of the twelve animals that visited the Buddha, hoping that the interplay of the attributes would attain a balance and unity unprecedented in warfare. Each expressed its traits differently: for instance, the Tiger was eight feet tall, whereas the Ox was as fat as the eponymous animal.
However, the commanders fell away, one by one. The Dragon became crippled and idiotic. The Pig forgot his station and was taken from the army (AUDIO: In the Year of the Cat) in 5000 to be given as a gift to the Icelandic Alliance. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang) The ten remaining commanders were taken back in time along with hundreds of automata soldiers and gifted to George III as part of Lolita's invasion of 1762. The Dog, not meant for swordplay, was killed by Lady Justine, (AUDIO: Sabbath Dei) as was his more skilled brother the Snake; the rest were killed by Cousin Eliza, the Sieur d'Eon, and Lord Sandwich. (AUDIO: In the Year of the Cat)
Behind the scenes Edit
Lawrence Miles' notes for Sabbath Dei described the automatons as "The 'monster' of the story. A kind of walking, talking Chinese mannequin, created as a war machine but engineered with a kind of delicate, well-sculpted grace. It speaks with a pronounced, almost over-played, oriental accent: it's essentially a sentient fortune-cookie, which can deliver words of Buddhist wisdom even as it beats the shit out of its opponents."