Description The betel nut is actually a berry (the fruit of the areca palm) that, especially in its dried form, was and is today widely chewed throughout Asia for its narcotic effect. A special type of scissors was developed to cut the dried berry. This example consists of a richly engraved horseshoe-shaped loop with a broad cutter and tapering round handles terminating in knobs. Portuguese traders began importing betel nuts into Europe in the 1500s, but they never caught on as did tea and coffee.
Surface cleaned with solvents to remove dirt and grime.
Provenance Lockwood de Forest Sale, American Art Association, 1922, no. 69; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1922, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1922
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