Sunday, March 6, 2011

Material Culture Minute: A Gift

After coveting his brass trade ring, a few months ago, Tyler got the hint and had an octagonal brass ring inscribed with my initials made for me.

The ring was made by Mich Lige, a metalsmith. The ring is inspired by brass Jesuit trade rings that archaeologists uncovered at Michilimackinac ("the Great Turtle"), an eighteenth-century French and English trading post and fort on the upper tip of Michigan's lower peninsula. From about 1715-1781, the rings were probably used help convince the Native Americans to convert to Christianity, and they may have also been used for trading purposes.

Visit Mackinac State Historic Parks to learn more about this region and its history.

Further Reading

Judith Ann Hauser, Jesuit Rings from Form Michilimackinac and Other European Contact Sites (Mackinac State Historic Site: Mackinac Island, Michigan, 1982).

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