Lime spatula

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Registration number
882
Item name
Lime spatula 
Category
Drug/Medicine
Sculpture/Carving
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Papua New Guinea > Milne Bay Province > Kiriwina Goodenough District > Kiriwina Island
Map
Collector
Unrecorded 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1948 
Acquisition method
Foundation Donation from Dr G. May 
Raw material
Wood
Dimensions
H: W: 20 mm L: 535 mm D: 15 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 flat incised section extending from the end. The blade and midsection of the spatula is incised with circles, lines and curvilinear designs. The blade is flat with a rounded point and widens toward the handle. Registration number 882 marked on the handle 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].

The Foundation Donation comprises the items from L. P. Winterbotham's personal collection, which were donated to the University of Queensland in 1948 and form the basis of the Anthropology Museum.

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