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Mermaid's Eye  Wampum jewelry with mermaid princess, 2006 | by Dr. Takeshi Yamada
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Mermaid's Eye Wampum jewelry with mermaid princess, 2006

Mermaid's Eye Wampum: (right is orginal nature-created Mermaid's Eye Wampum jewelry) (left is acrylc painting of Chnese dragon king's world in teh sea, painted on wooden panel, 10 inch, 2005) Takeshi Yamada

 

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

 

Mercenaria mercenaria – quahogs are found in estuaries along the Atlantic Coast, from Canada to Texas. The quahog shell is harder than gems like lapis lazuli and malachite, thus, it takes a high polish to turn into a first class gem. The name “quahog” is from a corruption of the Native American word for the clam, “poquauhock”. However, only the “Northern Quahog”, which is native to New England (the region comprising six states of the NE United States – Main, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Conneticut), has rich deep purple coloration in its shell. The purple color growth ring of the quahog (“Black Eye”; a form of Worry Stone) was used as an amulet, and found at the burial ground of the Native Americans 4,000 years old. And purple is what makes the most-desirable wampum among Native Americans. “Wampum” is a contraction of the Algonquian word “wampumpeage” or “white shell beads strung on a cord.” Wampum was the material object absolutely necessary for the successful functioning of political (diplomacy and diplomatic protocol), social, and religious life among Native Americans. They wore single strands of wampum as ornament. They also wore belts on which purple and white beads were woven into pictorial messages (sophisticated icons). Because purple shell was harder to find, and harder to work, purple wampum was worth twice as much as white. The Ayonwata Wampum Treaty Belt of the Haudonoshaunee (Hiawatha Iroquois Wampum Belt) is the most famous of the wampum belts, joining the Haudonoshaunee (People of the Longhouse) possibly over 1000 years ago. Among Native Americans, the Quahog has been considered as a beautiful and sacred clam as one of the main “passport” to the spirit world.

 

This clam, which could live 40 years or more, is known to feed Founding Fathers from starvation. In the seafood business today, small quahogs are known as “littlenecks”, larger ones are called “cherrystones” and quahogs over four inches wide are called “chowders.” After contacting North American natives in the early 1600s, European traders and settlers used wampum beads as money. In the 17th Century, wampum was the official currency of the New Amsterdam (now, New York) and other states, and you could even use wampum to pay your taxes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and pay your tuition at Harvard College then. With this in mind, in 1758, Linneaus himself gave the scientific name in Latin to the quahog meaning “money/wage”. Today, an extract from the quahog called mercenine is discovered as a strong growth inhibitor of cancers in mice, and researchers are investigating its power to be used as the next generation of penicillin.

 

With these unique and distinctive historical and cultural background of quahog in this region of the United States, and with Japanese medieval day’s game called Kaiawase (Clamshell Matching) among high society of Samurai and nobles, I created a series of artworks such as sculptures, jewelry, paintings, prints, drawings, and computer graphics since 2002, when I moved to Coney Island area of Brooklyn, NY, and started harvesting this beautiful marine creature here.

 

It is my hope that my artworks are the vehicles to please the eyes, uplift the spirit, stir the imagination and express conviction. It is my desire to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of the global nature of the world, its people and the bonds that mutually bind them. It is my sincere wish that my creativity and its products contribute to the advancement of the glorious culture based on the sanctity of life and true humanism.

 

About Wampum:

In a broader sense, Wampum is an English word for gems from the shell of the quahog clam (Mercenaria mercenaria), which Native Americans called ‘poquauhock’. The quahog shell is harder than gems like lapis lazuli and malachite. It also takes a high polish; it is truly a first class gem. “Wampum” is a contraction of the Algonquian word “wampumpeage” or “white shell beads strung on a cord.” Wampum was the material object absolutely necessary for the successful functioning of political (diplomacy and diplomatic protocol), social, and religious life among Native Americans. Not only did they wear single strands of wampum as ornaments but they also wore belts on which purple and white beads were woven into pictorial messages (sophisticated icons). Because purple shell was harder to find, and harder to work, purple wampum was worth twice as much as white among Native Americans. The Ayonwata Wampum Treaty Belt of the Haudonoshaunee (Hiawatha Iroquois Wampum Belt) is the most famous of the wampum belts, commemorating the joining the Haudonoshaunee (People of the Longhouse) possibly over 1000 years ago. Among Native Americans, the Quahog has been considered as a beautiful and sacred clam as one of the main “passports” to the world of ether or spirit world. The wampum belt was also used as a formal wedding proposal gift from a man to his potential wife and a proof of marriage just like engagement and wedding rings used today. After contacting North American natives in the early 1600s, European traders and settlers used wampum beads as money. In the 17th Century, wampum was the official currency of the New Amsterdam (now, New York) and other states, and you could even use wampum to pay your taxes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and pay your tuition at Harvard College then.

 

About Wampum Black Eye:

In Algonquin languages, Suckauaskeequash meant ‘black eye’. The Black Eyes are the earliest known talisman form of wampum. The Black Eyes are America’s oldest amulets and good-luck-charms, found by archaeologists in Native American graves over 4000 years old. Wampum Black Eyes were believed to be beautiful, mythical and lucky because they were part of ‘the face in the clam-shell’; a face of the sea goddess with deep purple eyes. They are spoon-shaped, a naturally-shaped ‘Worry Stone’ into which one’s thumb fits as if it were made for it. Each Wampum Black Eye of Takeshi Yamada is hand crafted and unique, one of a kind, and first class jewelry.

 

About Worry Stone, Wampum Black Eye Necklace and Earrings:

The Worry Stone is one of the most popular and powerful Good Luck Charms found in numerous ancient civilizations world-wide. When you feel physical or emotional pain, anxiety, or stress of any kind, rub the Worry Stone between your thumb and forefinger and experience its magical calming affect enter your body. The gentle pressure of the stone on your thumb is said to release endorphins, your body’s natural painkiller. Carry the Worry Stone with you always in your pocket or wallet. Yamada’s hand-crafted one of a kind necklace and earrings utilize the Wampum Black Eye with its 4000-year-old unique and distinctive proud history, and dignified culture of America and its people. These are truly America’s original and proud first-class timeless jewelry to own and wear.

 

Takeshi Yamada

  

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Reference: Dr. Takeshi Yamada as “Immortalizer” of the AMC cable television competitive fine art reality show, “Immortalized”, season 1, aired in 2013:

www.amctv.com/shows/immortalized

www.facebook.com/ImmortalizedAMC?filter=1

www.amctv.com/shows/immortalized/cast/takeshi-yamada

blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/immortalized-cast-photos/...

blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/immortalized-season-1-cas...

www.imdb.com/media/rm471641344/tt2631416

blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/immortalized-season-1-cas...

www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/nyc-taxidermy...

blogs.amctv.com/movie-blog/2013/02/immortalized-takeshi-y...

www.amctv.com/immortalized/videos/spoilers-the-final-reve...

blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/immortalized-season-1-epi...

amusingthezillion.com/2012/11/29/coney-island-taxidermist...

amusingthezillion.com/2013/01/30/video-of-the-day-meet-ta...

www.ign.com/videos/2013/01/29/immortalized-meet-takeshi-y...

www.amctv.com/immortalized/videos/on-air-trailer-wood-duc...

www.amctv.com/immortalized/videos/on-air-trailer-real-ori...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0i6KqUN22E

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iLUTs-KSXI

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdxsl1HI5a4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwsz0nRnWJg

www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8SrTXdjikw

mm.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/gyipa_public?nav=pr181713719

www.amctv.com/real-original-thursdays

www.hollywood.com/photos/tv/55000551/amc-s-immortalized-t...

www.hollywood.com/photos/tv/55000551/amc-s-immortalized-t...

www.poptower.com/news-52146/freakshow-immortalized-tv-sho...

iamturbo.com/new-taxidermy-reality-show-to-star-coney-isl...

tv.yahoo.com/news/amc-pits-taxidermists-against-each-othe...

animalnewyork.com/2013/new-taxidermy-reality-show-to-star...

www.sheepsheadbites.com/2013/02/takeshi-yamada-immortalized/

blogs.smithsonianmag.com/artscience/2013/02/outrageous-ta...

tv.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/arts/television/immortalized-an...

www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/freakshow-immortalized-t...

www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/news/article_17114...

www.rlslog.net/immortalized-s01e01-hdtv-x264-bajskorv/

trailerrss.com/immortalized-amc-series-premiere-promo

thegame4.com/immortalized-clip-meet-takeshi-yamada/

www.outdoorhub.com/news/man-vs-fur-amcs-new-competitive-t...

www.avclub.com/articles/freakshowimmortalized,92526/

blogs.amctv.com/movie-blog/2013/02/freakshow-immortalized...

www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/02/amcs-immortalized/

blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2013/02/immortalized-tax...

www.factpile.com/8874-watch-immortalized-on-amc/

www.hollywood.com/photos/tv/55000551/amc-s-immortalized-t...

twitpic.com/c1q9rx

www.michigandaily.com/blog/wire/alumni-profile-takeshi-ya...

art-design.umich.edu/news/takeshi_yamada_featured_on_amcs...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FoD-OptXgk

www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9aROKs_iSQ

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4msQyZqOrOY&NR=1&feature=...

www.gothic.net/immortalized-amc-taxidermy/immortalizer-ta...

www.gothic.net/immortalized-amc-taxidermy/immortalized-co...

www.gothic.net/immortalized-amc-taxidermy/

www.gothic.net/immortalized-amc-taxidermy/immortalized-co...

www.gothic.net/immortalized-episode-3-the-odyssey/

www.dragonblogger.com/about-immortalized-amcs-new-unscrip...

idownloadg.eu/tag/size-matters/

horrorboom.com/tag/takeshi-yamada/

  

Reference (newspaper articles and reviews):

www.cvltnation.com/god-of-freakstakeshi-yamada/

online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704828104576021750...

www.villagevoice.com/2006-11-07/nyc-life/the-stuffing-dre...

karlshuker.blogspot.com/2011/06/giant-sea-serpents-and-ch...

amusingthezillion.com/2011/12/08/takeshi-yamadas-jersey-d...

amusingthezillion.com/2010/12/07/art-of-the-day-freak-tax...

amusingthezillion.com/2010/10/27/oct-29-at-coney-island-l...

amusingthezillion.com/2010/09/18/photo-of-the-day-takeshi...

amusingthezillion.com/2009/11/07/thru-dec-31-at-coney-isl...

4strange.blogspot.com/2009/02/ten-of-takeshi-yamada-colle...

www.flickr.com/photos/museumofworldwonders/5440224421/siz...

www.gobrooklynart.org/studio/takeshiyamada

spexyandheknowsit.tumblr.com/post/42840993672/spexy-guy-d...

www.teoti.com/art-comics/15119-takeshi-yamada-s-creative-...

pinterest.com/lmartin84/taxidermy-i-know-it-s-weird/

secretscienceclub.blogspot.com/2007/11/long-live-taxiderm...

www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/48/24_taxidermycontest_2...

boingboing.net/2006/11/21/takeshi-yamadas-curi.html

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeshi_Yamada

www.digplanet.com/wiki/Takeshi_Yamada

 

Reference (fine art websites):

www.roguetaxidermy.com/members_detail.php?id=528

www.brooklynartproject.com/photo/photo/listForContributor...

www.bsagarts.org/member-listing/takeshi-yamada/

www.horseshoecrab.org/poem/feature/takeshi.html

www.artfagcity.com/2012/09/06/recommended-go-brooklyn-stu...

 

Reference (flickr):

www.flickr.com/photos/takeshiyamadaimmortalized/

www.flickr.com/people/searabbit16/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit15/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit14/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit13

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit12

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit11

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit10

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit9/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit8/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit7

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit6

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit5/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit4/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit3/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit2/

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit1/

www.flickr.com/photos/museumofworldwonders3/

www.flickr.com/photos/museumofworldwonders2

www.flickr.com/photos/museumofworldwonders/

www.flickr.com/photos/takeshiyamadapaintings/

 

Reference (other videos):

www.youtube.com/watch?v=otSh91iC3C4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhIR-lz1Mrs

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BttREu63Ksg

 

Reference (videos featuring sea rabbits and Dr. Takeshi Yamada):

www.amctv.com/immortalized/videos/who-is-takeshi-yamada-i...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ek-GsW9ay0

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJK04yQUX2o&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrCCxV5S-EE

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0QnW26dQKg&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpVCqEjFXk0

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NlcIZTFIj8&feature=fvw

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UPzGvwq57g

s87.beta.photobucket.com/user/katiecavell/media/NYC%2008/...

www.animalnewyork.com/2012/what-are-you-doing-tonight-con...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeAdsChmSR8

www.ign.com/videos/2013/01/29/immortalized-meet-takeshi-y...

superforest.org/2010/11/takeshi-yamada-rogue-taxidermist/

 

Reference (sea rabbit artifacts)

www.wondersandmarvels.com/2012/06/coney-island-sea-rabbit...

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit3/5417188428/in/photostream

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit3/5417189548/in/photostream

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit3/5416579163/in/photostream

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit3/5417191794/in/photostream

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit3/5417192426/in/photostream

www.flickr.com/photos/searabbit3/5417192938/in/photostream

www.thewheelhousereview.com/2012/07/18/person-of-interest...

crappytaxidermy.com/page/25

 

(updated March 4, 2013)

 

takeshiyamada.weebly.com

 

For any questions, please contact Dr. Takeshi Yamada via his official art website and his email there. See the first page and/or the last page of this website for details.

 

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Taken on May 19, 2011