This superb lime tube, with its very fine patina, is of a quality which must date it it the 1940s or early1950s. The stopper consists of two opposed kneeling human figures back to back , each holding a container of betel nut chew components. This element is fixed to the metal cap of a large section of bamboo tube decorated with old kaif, which are diagramatic representations of the carverís genealogy. Each hook in the kaif pattern represents a person, and the overall design is unique to the clan. The tube itself is impressive because of its deep patina and the amount of wear on the kaif carvings. This object has been used and handled for decades.
These tubes are made by the Atoni and Meto peopes of West Timor. The Timorese enjoy the mild narcotic hit of betel nut and it is widely chewed. The tube is intended to hold white lime powder , an essential ingredient for betel chewing, since the betel nut must combine with an alkali to release its hit.
Dimensions: overall 26 cm / 10 inches, figural carving 9 cm / 3 1/2 inches