BETELNUT CRUSHER HANDLES

Lombok, Indonesia

Ex collection Philip and Rosalind Goldman, London, 8 cm

Horn and cupper, 10 and 9 cm

These hilts, carved from a single piece of solid horn (probably buffalo), would have been used as handle for a betel crusher. The left one has a worn, brass collar around the base. Betel is a mild, social narcotic that was chewed widely across Southeast Asia. Usually, slithers of areca nut were wrapped in betel leaf along with powdered lime (usually sourced from seashells or coral) and chewed. However, elderly users who had lost all or most of their teeth were unable to chew the slithers so easily and so the nut was pounded to a pulp. This hilt might have been used on such a pounder.

Price on request.