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This Naga (dragon in Indonesian) betel nut cutter comes from Borneo and was made in the beginning to mid 1900’s.
In Indonesia the dragon is a symbol of fertility and love as well as of protection. Betel nut cutters have been used for thousands of years through out South East Asia. The decorative motifs of the cutters vary, depending on which country and area they derive from.
Betel nuts and leafs have been important symbols of love and marriage,
surrounded by myths and magic for more than 2000 years.
Both the nuts and the leaves have until present day been used in religious and animistic ceremonies, many related to rites of passage - especially betrothal and marriage.
The betel nut represents the male principle while the betel leaf the female.
The leaf is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
Betel nut or quid chewing has also played an important role in social customs,
tearing down cultural barriers, striking up conversations, making friendship and bringing peace.
Held in high esteem and very much a cultural tradition, royalty had servants carry trays and would offer guests betel nuts and betel nut leaves as one would offer a drink. Still today it is one of the most popular psychoactive substances in the world,
producing a sense of well-being, euphoria and warm sensation of the body.