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Superb Collection of New Guinea Massim Lime Spatulas Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. Massim Lime Spatulas
Size Heights: 28cm to 35cm
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A Superb Collection of Old New Guinea Massim Lime Spatulas from the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. Dating from the late 19th Century

These Lime Spatulas show the high quality of aesthetics that Massim Master Carvers could achieve working on this scale. After carving & polishing the artist would put white lime into the incised designs to highlight them.

The utensils made for chewing betel nut are some of the most beautiful smaller-scale carvings made in New Guinea. Lime Spatulas are usually carved from a dark native hardwood with elaborately carved finials depicting stylized human ancestor figures and or animals.

Lime Spatulas were used for chewing betel nuts by dipping the end of the spatula into powdered lime (crushed & burnt sea shells) & licking it off as you put a Betel Nut from the Acacia Palm to chew together, the lime diffuses the alkaloids in the Betel Nuts.

In the Massim Culture chewing Betel Nuts is an important daily ritual. Betel Chewers would have a lime gourd & spatula for dipping into the lime, and older men with poor teeth would also have a small mortar and pestle for crushing the nuts into a mush that was easier to eat.

Many of the most beautiful Massim Lime Spatulas were made by Master Carvers for use only by important Chiefly Persons. The motifs are part of the Massim belief system & spirituality.

Provenance: These Lime Spatulas were collected over 40 years and are from several important historical collections from the late 19th Century.

The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art 

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries

I was honoured by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris

See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996

I have artwork for Museums & Art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery.  I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com  where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specialises in New Guinea & Oceanic Art. Sydney is just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbours.


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.

For all inquiries, please contact us.