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A Collection of Five Fine Oro Province Lime Spatulas from the 19th Century


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Collection No. TB-938
Size Height: 25- 30cm
A Collection of Five Fine Oro Province Lime Spatulas from the 19th Century
A Collection of Five Fine Oro Province Lime Spatulas from the 19th Century
A Collection of Five Fine Oro Province Lime Spatulas from the 19th Century
A Collection of Five Fine Oro Province Lime Spatulas from the 19th Century
A Collection of Five Fine Oro Province Lime Spatulas from the 19th Century
A Collection of Five Fine Oro Province Lime Spatulas from the 19th Century

This Fine Collection of Five  Lime Spatulas from the Tufi Area in Oro Province Papua New Guinea. Dating from the 19th Century to early 20th Century.

Each spatula has very fine incised designs on both sides, the designs relating to a specific clan and their body tattoo designs. All of these beautiful old Lime Spatulas have dark shiny patina from decades of use.

Betel nut chewing is very much part of daily life for people all over Papua New Guinea, The betel nut, the seed of the Areca palm, is common across Asia and the Pacific.  In Papua New Guinea, where it is known locally as “buai“, it is consumed with a mustard stick dipped in the slaked lime powder (burnt & crushed seashells)

The traditional artists of New Guinea make beautiful implements to use when chewing betel nut such as lime gourds to hold the lime, & beautifully carved and decorated wood spatulas like these and in many areas beautiful carved mortar & pestles used to crush betel nuts when older and lacking strong teeth.

Some of the most beautiful small scale artworks  in New Guinea are made for using betel nut.

The spatula is used to put lime into your mouth to chew with the betel nut. This brings out the alkaloid in the betel nut that is a stimulate much like a cup coffee or nicotine.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art