A large and handsome betel nut mortar and pestle in the form of a female figure with shell inlaid eyes and mouth, wearing an engraved Kap Kap shell ornament tied around her neck. She carries the crushing bowl for the betel nut on her back. There is a mortar in a similar style with four figures with shell inlaid eyes and other shell inlay decorations in the British Museum Collection.
Height 30 cm / 12 inches
Betel nut mortars were used by older betel chewers whose teeth were no longer strong enough to chew the hard betel nut and extract the narcotic it released - they therefore had to crush the nuts in a mortar before chewing them.