Jan Mitchell and Sons Collection, Gift of Jan Mitchell, 1991
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 357
Although some are of artful or inorganic design, ancient American nose ornaments often bear a strong resemblance to natural forms. Here, the long projections bristle and balance sedately outward, bringing to mind an exaggerated mustache or whiskers. Indigenous American men have relatively little facial hair, so it is unlikely that the ornament was thought of as mustache-like by its maker. It is more probable that the whiskers of a large cat are represented.
(Lempertz Auction Gallery, Cologne, Germany, December 14–15, 1966, no. 1808); Jan Mitchell, New York, acquired by 1969, until 1991
Jones, Julie. "The Jan Mitchell Collection." In The Art of Precolumbian Gold. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985, 48, 178-179.