Betel mortars were often one of the most cherished objects owned by individuals in New Guinea. Used by old men and women these served to mash up the two of the three ingredients essential for chewing betel after their teeth have gone away. This one has three strong caryatid spirit figures supporting the bowl. The bulging foreheads, deep-set eyes and long curved noses stylistically place this mortar to the region at the mouth of the Ramu River. Both the style of the figures and the worn aged patina indicate an early 20th century date of manufacture. There are substantial signs of use of course. The piece is 5 1/3” (13.3 cm) in height and has been published (but for the life of me I cannot locate the catalog) and sells for $3500. Questions?