Lime spatula

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Registration number
4570
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
January 01, 1950 
Acquisition method
Donated by Colonel Toll 
Raw material
Wood
Dimensions
H: W: 40 mm L: 290 mm D: 25 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from dark wood with a handle in the form of a seated human figure. The figure has a rounded head, prominent brow and nose and circular eyes; the limbs are incised with circle and curvilinear designs; and a section is carved out separating the arms and legs. The blade is flat with a rounded end and tapers toward the handle. Registration number 4570 marked on blade in 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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