Lime spatula

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Registration number
4324
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: 35 mm L: 310 mm D: 20 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from dark wood. The handle is rectangular, split through the centre and has a rounded end with a narrow rectangular section carved in relief on both sides. The handle is incised and carved in relief with circle, curvilinear and zigzag designs. The blade is flat with a rounded point and tapers toward the handle. Registration number 4324 marked on the blade in white and 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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