Pre-Columbian, Peru (North Coast), Moche Culture, ca. 100 to 700 CE. A pair of elegant, thin, crescent-shaped gold nose rings. The larger is 20 karats, with twin tiny cylinders of rolled gold sheet for attaching it to the nostrils. Its surface is hammered to have a motif of three raised bosses, each surrounded by tiny raised circles, forming an eye-catching motif that sparkles in the light. The smaller is 15 karats, with a similar motif of raised bosses, but these are close together in tight succession, forming an interior ring that mirrors the crescent shape of the ring itself. Size of largest: 2.3" W x 1.95" H (5.8 cm x 5 cm); 1.6 grams and 7.9 grams
The crescent form of these examples was a favorite of the Moche - various goldworks from headdresses to pectorals also had the crescent form, and they derive much of their impressiveness from the wide reflective surface they present to the viewer. Beyond the aesthetic, this shape may also connect to beliefs about the moon. We know that among the later Inca, Si, the moon goddess, was thought to be more powerful than the sun because she could be seen both at night and during the day. This object probably belonged to a male, because in ancient Peru, gold seems to have been reserved for elite men, while silver was reserved for elite women.
Provenance: ex-private Hawaii, USA collection
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Both are in nice condition with light patina. Old collection numbers are handwritten in black ink on the back of each.