Yaavukaain (lime holder with lid)
Papua New Guinea
The chewing of betel nut (Areca catechu) as a mild stimulant is widespread across the Sepik. In the past, bamboo containers, or 'yaavukaain', were used to store 'kwayavu' (slaked lime), which is made from burned and powdered freshwater shells and chewed with the nut. Lime is carried to the mouth using a 'taph', or lime stick. 'Yaavukaain' are usually elaborately decorated, their surfaces incised using the sharpened teeth of 'mabma' (cuscus) or 'kwa'ji' (flying fox), or shells. The lid, or 'yaavukaaintaak', of this 'yaavukaain' is also incised with designs.
Iatmul-speaking Aibom artists and Chambri artists were renowned for the production of decorated 'yaavukaain', which were traded up and down the Sepik until plastic containers replaced them. They are rarely made today.
[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 6]
Place where the work was made
holder: 23.0 cm length; 5.5 cm diameter lid: 4.5 cm diameter; 0.3 cm depth
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 1 publication
Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 45. cat.no. 72; 'Lime holder, with lid. Chambri Lake. Bamboo with burnt decoration. 23h. Collected 1965'