Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia
Lidded box for betel nut ingredients
plant fibre, beads
14.0 (h) x 22.0 (w) x 18.0 (d) cm
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Across island Southeast Asia, betel nut offerings are made to spirits, gods and ancestors. Betel nut accoutrements are also buried with their owners for use in the afterlife. The variously shaped containers, boxes and pouches are among the most richly decorated accessories. Embroidery and beading are popular means of embellishment. On the lidded box in the form of a Sumatran house, ship images—symbols of transition at rites of passage—appear against highly valued red-brown mutisalah beads.