Lime Spatula
Papua New Guinea, Massim
Early 20th Century
Provenance: John Friede, Rye, NY.

This bladelike implement was used to scoop small quantities of lime from a gourd container, facilitating the consumption of betel nut. Human figures are rare in the art of the Massim except when acting as embellishments on utilitarian objects, such as lime spatulas. This example is unique due to its size and gender. The female figure is elegantly carved. The simplistic cylindrical design uses geometric shapes to delineate the facial features, arms, legs, and torso with exquisite precision. Due to the figure’s size, this example might not have served a everyday function, instead being reserved for ceremonial use. Nevertheless, signs of use are visible by the shiny worn patina.

Height: 11.75 inches
IN 7-2-16 / SOLD


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