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Betel Chewing Culture in Sri Lanka

Betel chewing is a tradition that has come down among the Sri Lankans from very early times. This habit no doubt was a universal particularly among Asians. Betel leaves, arecanut, chunam, tobacco and spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cardamom: etc. constituted ingredients of betel chewing.

While this culture promoted the growth of the spices, it also helped with the development of crafts. The arecanut slicers adopted various shapes and designs using Sinhala art motifs of the times. The abstract art motif Serapenda common motif adopted in arecanut slicers.

In the case of human designs, a popular motif was the bust of a woman with hands In Mudra. The slicers were usually made of brass, while in some the body of the upper blade was of silver designs.
Chunam containers too assumed circular, star and other shapes. The container consisted of two brass covers folded together. covers were intricately decorated with various motifs. The container is meant to be suspended with a decorated chain at the end there was a tiny spoon to extract Chunam.

The betel bags of the Karidyan Period too were good specimens of embroidery work at the time. These bags were fairly large betel leaves, which were used to bring betel to the royal court.
Betel pounders made of ivory and metal were usually used by the older generation to facilitate chewing. It consisted of a Shane Of 6 Cylinder and stee pestle decorated with an ivory knob and made moveable vertically. Tobacco boxes of popularly used during the period and indicates Dutch inspiration.


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