nat4b
nat4b
26 December 2023, 20:01

“The Ethiopian Caterpillar” by Henri Maillard: the story of a masterpiece of 19th-century Swiss jewelry

“The Ethiopian Caterpillar” by Henri Maillard: the story of a masterpiece of 19th-century Swiss jewelry
In the history of Swiss watchmaking, there is an amazing artifact that combines watchmaking craftsmanship and the sophistication of jewelry. This unique creation, known as the Ethiopian Caterpillar, was created by Henri Maillard in 1810 and is a magnificent example of the fusion of mechanics and aesthetics.

The main character of this work was a caterpillar that came to life thanks to an amazing internal mechanism. Consisting of gold-plated grooved wheels, the mechanism gives the caterpillar smooth movements, making it look like a real insect. The distinctive feature is the 11 joints that allow the caterpillar to wriggle and crawl, creating a stunning illusion of a living creature.
Dzherelo photo: sothebys.com
Dzherelo photo: sothebys.com
The body of the “caterpillar” is decorated with pearls, enamel, gold, rubies, emeralds, turquoise and diamonds. Every element, every stone is carefully inserted and decorated, giving the silkworm robot shine and majesty.

The extraordinary care and skill that went into creating this work immediately evokes admiration. The Ethiopian Caterpillar was not only a technical achievement, but also an outstanding piece of art, representing a harmonious combination of mechanics and beauty.
Dzherelo photo: sothebys.com
Dzherelo photo: sothebys.com
It is now known that only six copies of this amazing robotic silkworm exist. Each of them is a true collector's relic, preserving the spirit and elegance of the era.

One of the Ethiopian Caterpillars was auctioned at Sotheby's in 2015. The collector paid $262,000, emphasizing its status as a work of jewelry and technical art.
Dzherelo photo: sothebys.com
Dzherelo photo: sothebys.com
Dzherelo: dailymail.co.uk

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