Lime spatula

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Registration number
4322
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
March 15, 1950 
Acquisition method
Donated by E. G. Gronvold 
Raw material
Wood
Dimensions
H: W: 27 mm L: 275 mm D: 10 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from light wood. The handle is oval shaped, split through the centre and the end carved in relief with circle and curvilinear incisions at each end. Two parallel lines are incised down the length of the handle and a line at each end incised across the width to the edges. The blade is flat with a rounded end and tapers toward the handle. Registration number 4322 marked on the handle in black and white.

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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