Lime spatula

placeholder
Registration number
2914
Item name
Lime spatula 
Category
Drug/Medicine
Sculpture/Carving
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Milne Bay Province > Alotau > Massim style
Map
Collector
Unrecorded 
Acquisition date
September 28, 1953 
Acquisition method
Donated by Miss E. M. Boddington 
Raw material
Wood; lime
Dimensions
H: W: 20 mm L: 285 mm D: 10 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from dark wood with a pointed handle split through the centre. Two crescents are carved at the midsection and joined at the middle by two bands carved in relief. The handle and midsection have bands of lines and curvilinear incisions on both sides, some filled with lime. The blade is flat with a rounded end and tapers toward the handle. Registration number 2914 marked on the 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].

Go to top