Pearl diver's nose peg (fatam)
18th century
Object Name: Nose clip, fatam
Period: 18th century
Date: 1700-1799
Provenance: Qatar
Dimensions: 5.6cm x 2.2cm x 2.3cm, without string, 36cm with string; weight: 9g
Medium: wood
Registration Number: QNM.2015.667
Place Of Discovery/Findspot:  Al Zubarah
The nose peg, al fatam, was an essential piece of equipment for pearl divers. It was placed on the diver’s nose at the start of the dive to prevent water from entering, and to help the diver equalise the pressure in his ears as he descended. The nose peg helped to minimise the rupturing of eardrums, a common occurance for divers.

The clip was usually made from turtle shell or animal horn, with a hole at the top for a thin cord to pass through so that it could hang around the diver's neck when he was not underwater. An ancient piece of equipment, the fatam was first mentioned around a thousand years ago in early Arabic descriptions of pearl diving.
The Qatar Peninsula is surrounded by sea except in the south where it connects with its neighbours from the Arabian Peninsula. For hundreds of years people have shared the land, resources and knowledge inherited from their environment. With no fixed lifestyle in terms of time and place, people moved easily and freely between land and sea for trade, livestock, pearl diving, fishing, and hunting at various times throughout the year. This symbiotic relationship between the people and their environment was represented in the unity of their societies, including the exchange of knowledge, stories and the trading of available goods.

A distinctive characteristic of life on the Qatar Peninsula has long been the close association between the coast and the desert – al barr. Some desert tribes spent several months of the year in coastal cities, setting up semi-permanent residences to participate in pearl diving or fishing. Similarly, coastal residents occasionally moved to al barr during the winter to graze their livestock. This exchange of natural resources and the influence of different environments has contributed to the creation of a unique community.
The presence of British, French and Dutch trading companies in the Gulf from the early 1600s brought uncertainty to the region, with unstable alliances and intense competition over trade routes. As trade flourished, however, the strength of the Arab tribes increased. Many Arab tribes moved from the interior of the Arabian Peninsula to Qatar, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the major towns of the Gulf were founded. Several towns flourished on the Qatari coast, including Huwailah, Khor Hassan, Fuwairat, Ruwaida, Freiha, Al Bidda and Doha. The most notable was Al Zubara which became a hub for the Gulf pearl trade.
AL-MUHANNADI, SAQR BIN LAHDAN AL-HASSAN, 2021, Qatar Marine Life Encyclopaedia, Chapter One, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Doha, Qatar, p.32.
Al Zubarah