Lime spatula

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Registration number
4582
Item name
Lime spatula 
Category
Drug/Medicine
Sculpture/Carving
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Sandaun (West Sepik) Province > Unknown > Wamiro
Map
Collector
Unrecorded 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1951 
Acquisition method
Donated by Sister Dorothea Tomkins 
Raw material
Wood; pigment
Dimensions
H: W: 38 mm L: 345 mm D: 12 mm Circum:

Description

Lime spatula carved from light wood. The handle is formed with a circle at the end with adjacent O, V and U shapes stacked and incised with circles, triangles and curvilinear designs in-filled with red and white pigment. The blade is flat with a pointed end and tapers toward the handle. Registration number 4582 marked on 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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