Lime spatula

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Registration number
4327
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; lime
Dimensions
H: W: 12 mm L: 360 mm D: 9 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from dark wood. The handle is formed by four lines carved in relief down the length of the handle and a small cylindrical section carved at the end. The spatula is incised with circles and triangles, some infilled with lime; a band of zigzags and a snake are carved in relief at the midsection. The blade has a rounded end and tapers toward the handle. Registration number 4327 marked on 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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