Makara Gallery

Himalayan arts - Asian arts

Areca nut cutter


representing a couple of lovers,

Tamil Nadu, South India
Brass, iron
11 cm long
Price: 180 euros
In # 233 c
These hinged one-bladed instruments in the form of tongs were used to cut slices of areca nut used for the preparation of betel, a stimulant like tobacco, which is chewed in many societies in South and Southeast Asia. Betel has an important social role from birth to death, is prized by kings and peasants alike, and is present in ceremonies marking the different stages of life. It is also associated with marriage ceremonies in societies that are fond of this product. According to Henry Brownrigg, in continental and island Southeast Asia, the two are so inseparable that wedding terminology is derived from the areca nut in different languages. The betel is also one of the usual important gifts for entering into a marriage.