CATALOG NO: 72484
OBJECT TYPE: beaded nose ornament
Nose ornaments of various types were commonly seen on Alutiiq men and women in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1790, Carl Heinrich Merck, a naturalist with a Russian scientific expedition, described the use of nose ornaments among women on Kodiak Island:
"They usually wear garnets [beads] through the cartilage of the nose. These garnets are tied to three firm rows of thin little pieces of wood. In the middle where the wood sits in the cartilage, there it is covered with gut. From there it protrudes about 1 1/2 inches to both sides, bending downward a little. The garnet is blue or white with white or blue ends .... They call this ornament Maidett" (Merck 1980:103).
The nosepin acquired by Fisher consists of black, white and blue beads strung on copper wire to provide shape and may actually be from the Dena'ina people. Similiar designs were used among the Alutiit.