Lime spatula

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Photography Carl Warner

Registration number
3157
Item name
Lime spatula 
Category
Drug/Medicine
Sculpture/Carving
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Milne Bay Province > Kiriwina Goodenough District > Sineketa, Trobriand Islands
Map
Collector
Unrecorded 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1949 
Acquisition method
Donated by Dr G. May 
Raw material
Wood; lime
Dimensions
H: W: 46 mm L: 395 mm D: 10 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from dark wood. The handle is flat and rectangular with a carved section at the end. Zigzags, concentric circles and interlocking curvilinear designs are incised on both sides of the handle, some infilled with lime. The blade is flat with a pointed end and tapers toward the handle. A white inscription on the blade reads: "Sina Kata Kiriwina Trobriands ASQ". Registration number 3157 marked on blade in black on white base.

Research notes

Betel nut chewing is a pastime known in parts of Asia and the Pacific where betel nut, the seed of the areca palm (Areca catechu), is chewed with betel leaves and lime made from burnt shell and coral. Used frequently as a mild stimulant and for medicinal purposes, the betel nut stains user's saliva, lips and teeth red. The highly carved spatulas are accessories showing rank and are often used for ornament only [ref H. Beran, Betel-chewing Equipment of East New Guinea].

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