- Indigenous name
- Associated cultural group
- Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Milne Bay Province > Alotau > Massim style
- Raw material
- H: W: 25 mm L: 580 mm D: 17 mm Circum:
Lime spatula carved from wood with incised concentric circles and curvilinear designs. The narrow handle is formed by four vertical lines carved in relief and a small bird carved on top a band of zigzags at the handle end. The blade has a rounded end and tapers toward the handle. The registration number 4394 is marked on the blade in black.
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].
'Miss Atherton's father was stationed at Cooktown, may years ago, and she gave to me what specimens he had collected. She told me she still remembers a native boat calling into Cooktown with a crew of Kanakas on board, and that they had sailed down from either New Guinea or the Torres Straits' [ref. Catalogue Book 1].