Lime Container 32053

Atoni People, Timor. Indonesia
Wood, beads, cotton thread
First half 20th Century

4 in / 10 cm

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This lime container is exceptional in the resonance of its color sequence artistry. 
Lime powder is a caustic alkaline made from treating limestone or burning shells. It is chewed together with the berry of the nut of the Areca Palm, Areca catechu, commonly called a betel nut. This mixture is wrapped in a betel leaf, Piper betle. The lime helps break down the plant fiber, releasing chlorophyll and psychoactive alkaloids that give a warm feeling and color enhancement.
Betel is a crucial part of the tribal culture of Timor, used both in welcoming guests and going out on a headhunting raid.