Indonesian Betel-nut Cutters

19th Century


The Indonesian Areca or Betel nut cutter is a tool used to prepare for the act of betel chewing. The tool, from the 19th century Javanese period of Indonesia, has been forged from brass and fashioned into a beautifully incised figure of a horse. The blade scores the Areca nut by using the handles representative of horse legs.

Betel chewing is a significant and popular cultural tradition throughout Indonesia, while the pulp of the nut has long been used in traditional medicines. The betel is a mild euphoric stimulant and aphrodisiac, it is also commonly gifted in ceremonial activities making it a celebrated item of Indonesian culture.

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