Pair of Water Buffalo Horn and Wood Lime Powder Holders for Betel Nut from Timor Island (circa 1970s)
Pair of Water Buffalo Horn and Carved Wood Lime Powder Holders for Betel Nut from Timor Island (circa 1970s). One is topped by a carved water buffalo and the other, a dog. The first animals domesticated by the Indonesians were dogs, pigs, chickens and water buffalo. In some of the myths of origin, humans were often disguised as animals and vice versa, and a belief in shape-shifting was universal (Indonesian Tribal Art by Bruce Carpenter). The tops and base are of wood and the centre body from water buffalo horn. These vessels held the lime powder which is an essential part of the betel nut mix. Chewed betel nut acts as a stimulant similar to caffeine or nicotine which helps locals suppress their hunger, reduce stress and heighten their senses. The most common method of using betel nut is to slice it into thin strips and roll it in a betel leaf with slaked lime powder. The leaf package is known as betel nut chew. These holders make for beautiful home decoration items and can be placed anywhere to create an extraordinary display.
Dimensions (both pieces approximately the same):
H 21.5 cm / 8.5"
D 8.0 cm / 3.1"