Lime spatula

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Registration number
25496
Item name
Lime spatula 
Category
Drug/Medicine
Sculpture/Carving
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Western Province > Unknown > Fly River
Map
Collector
Unrecorded 
Acquisition date
September 11, 1985 
Acquisition method
Donated by Ms Elizabeth Hopkins 
Raw material
Wood; lime
Dimensions
H: W: 45 mm L: 335 mm D: 10 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from brown wood. The handle is carved into a large spiral at the end of the handle that extends toward the blade and two smaller curves; between the large spiral and blade another curved section is carved with two symmetrical U-shaped hooks. Circles, crescents and curvilinear designs are incised on the handle and extends down the blade. The blade is flat with a rounded end and tapers toward the handle. Some lime residue in incisions. Registration number 25496 marked on blade in black.

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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