The piercing of the septum is probably the second most common piercing mong primitive peoples after ear piercing. It's even more common than nostril piercing. It's probably so popular for the same reasons as nose piercing , with the added attraction that the piercing can be stretched and large pieces of jewelry can be inserted, i.e. pig's tusk, pieces of bone, feathers, pieces of wood, etc.
The septum piercing is particularly prevalent among warrior cultues, this probably has to do with the fact that large tusks through the septum give the face a fierce appearance. The use of septum tusks is very prevalent in Irian Jaya, New Guinea and Solomon Islands, pig's tusks being the most popular. Among the Asmat tribe of irian Jaya the most prestigious septum tusk is the "Otsj" this is a large bone plug, which can be as thick as 25mm. They are usually made of leg bones of a pig, but occasionally they are made from the Tibia bone of an enemy slain in battle.
The septum piercing was beloved by the Aztecs, Mayans, and the Incs. They wore a variety of jewelry, but jade and gold were the most popular because of their religious association,. The modern dau Cuna Indians of Panama continue this practice by wearing thick pure gold rings in their septum.
The piercing is also popular in India, napal, and Tibet, a pendant "Bulak" is worn, and some examples are so large as to prevent the person being able to eat, the jewelry has to be lifted up during meals. In Rajasthan in Himachal Pradesh these Bulak are particularly elaborate, and extremely large.
Septum piercing was widely practised by many North American Indian tribes, the name of the Nez Perc, tribe of washington State, stem from their practice of piercing the septum, Nez Perc, is french for Nose pierced, and was given to the tribe by French fur traders. Australian aboriginals pierced the septumand passed a long stick or bone through the piercng to flatten the nose, they believed a flat nose to be the most desireable.
Among the Bundi tribe of the Bismark Ranges of Papua New Guinea the piercing is performed using the thin enf of the sweet patato plant (Ogai Iriva), usually at age 18-22. The ge at which the piercing is done varies greatly between tribes, some tribes perform the rite at age 9-10.
The septum piercing is done through the small ridge of skin just underneath the middle of the nose between he Alar cartilage (outer) and the Quadrangular cartilage (seperating the nostrils) . There is usually a small depression in this area towards the front of the nose, this is the best place for the piercing.
The initial piercing is usuallly performed with iether a bll closure ring or a septum keeper. A septum keeper is shaped like a small horshoe and be hidden by pushing the neds up in the nose, its ideal if you have a job where they don't approve of facial piercing.Another option is a circular babell, a ring with two balls on the ends; this can also be flipped up inside the nose although it's not as comfortable as a septum keeper.
Once the piercing is healed the hole can be stretched easily and a variety of different jewelry can be worn, tusks,spikes,curled tusks, ball closure rings, curved barbells and circular barbells.
Septum piercings usually heal within 6-10 weeks, they can be very tender(even painful) during the first few weeks of healing. You can tell when the piercing is healed by pressing under the tio of the nose, if there is no pain it's generally healed. However you should'nt start changing jewelry or try to stretch the piercing until it is fully healed(usually8-10 weeks. once a septum piercing is healed it always stays open, however, it may require a taper pin to insert jewelry but the hole never closes up fully.
Cheyenne Morrison ,One Tribe, Australia 98