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Angular Momentum & Manu Propria’s Tamamushi Timepiece

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January 2013


Chrysochroa fulgidissima, „jewel beetle“ - This beetle is native to Japan. It is typically found in woods or forests during summer and can grow between 30–41 millimetres in length. The Tamamushi Shrine, an Asuka Period miniature shrine located at Hōryū-ji Temple, Nara prefecture, is the first known object decorated with urushi lacquer and oil painting on wood, gilt bronze plaques, and beetlewing work using the iridescent wings of the Chrysochroa fulgidissima beetle. Today Tamamushi-Nuri is executed only by a few Urushi masters in Wajima, Japan.

Close to 1000 small squares cut from the wings of Tamamushi beetles are set to a sparkling and irisident mosaic on a watch dial
Close to 1000 small squares cut from the wings of Tamamushi beetles are set to a sparkling and irisident mosaic on a watch dial

This year in January Tamamushi-Nuri has the first time been introduced to watchmaking by Angular Momentum & Manu Propria. The dial of the Tamamushi Timepiece is decorated with a mosaic of close to 1000 tiny squares cut from Tamamushi wings. Timepiece and artwork by Martin Pauli Tamamushi-iro, Since this bug has iridescent wings that glow lengthwise with different colors depending upon the light angle, one cannot be sure exactly which color it is. Therefore it gave rise to the expression tamamushi-iro (tamamushi color), in reference to a convoluted statement that can be interpreted in more ways than one. The term tamamushi-iro is used in the context of Japanese officialdom, when politicians or bureaucrats use language that is ambiguous.

The finished Tamamushi Timepiece by Manu Propria
The finished Tamamushi Timepiece by Manu Propria

Close to 1000 small squares cut from the wings of Tamamushi beetles are set to a sparkling and irisident mosaic on a watch dial.

Source: Angular Momentum