Nose ornaments were worn almost exclusively by males in Pre-Columbian coastal Peru. Furthermore, they are consistently associated with high-status individuals. Being this object part of the Huarmey grave lot, with objects PC.B.450 to PC.B.459, it is likely that the original owner was an elite male.
This object is made of eighteen individual gold elements, hammered to shape and soldered to the present configuration. The outer, thicker band of gold and the inner, thinner band, both 0.33 cm wide, are two separate pieces of joined at their common ends with gold solder. These two bands frame a flat blue stone, identified as lapis lazuli with pyrite and calcite inclusions.
The array of short, decorative gold elements encircling the outer band served originally to hold sixteen white shell inlays. Only three of these inlays are reasonably intact, but the red bedding material used to cement the shell remains. These inlay framing elements – some cylindrical, others of a wavelike form – cluster in a pattern that repeats four times around the circumference of the outer band. Each element is soldered to the band with gold solder.
Benson, Elizabeth P. 1963 Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C., p. 67, cat. 375.
Bliss, Robert Woods 1957 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, New York. p. 276, cat. 318, pl. CXXXII.
Bliss, Robert Woods 1959 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. 2nd ed. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, London. p. 284, cat. 318, pl. CXXXII.
Boone, Elizabeth Hill (ED.) 1996 Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks. Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks; No. 1. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C. vol. 1, p. 241-2, pl. 60.
Lothrop, Samuel K. 1954 A Peruvian Goldsmith's Grave. Archaeology Spring 1954:31-36. p. 31-36.
"Indigenous Art of the Americas", National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, November 1952 to July 1962.
Purchased from Walram von Schoeler, New York (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, ca.1953.
Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, Washington, DC, 1953-1962.
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.