Lime spatula

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Registration number
3541
Item name
Lime spatula 
Category
Drug/Medicine
Sculpture/Carving
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Unknown > P.N.G. unspecified
Map
Collector
Mr Laurie 
Acquisition date
August 18, 1949 
Acquisition method
Donated by Mrs Laurie 
Raw material
Bone
Dimensions
H: W: 30 mm L: 287 mm D: 37 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from bone. The handle is formed by the shaft and joint of the bone, which is perforated along the edges. From the handle the blade is carved flat with a rounded end. Registration number 3541 marked in cavity with 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].

This lime spatula is part of a group of items donated to the Museum by Mrs Laurie, whose husband collected them when he was working as a clergyman in Papua New Guinea.

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