The Iatmul and other Middle Sepik peoples use betel nut,the fruit of the areca palm, which is chewed with lime madefrom burnt shells or coral and other substances to producea mild stimulant effect. Among the Iatmul, the ornatecontainers and spatulas used respectively to hold and servethe lime had ceremonial as well as practical functions.Ceremonial lime containers were presented to newlyinitiated boys by their maternal uncles to mark their newlyachieved status. The tops of these containers have a holefor the insertion of the lime spatula, and the lower ends arefrequently adorned with carvings depicting totemic animalsor other supernatural beings. The lower ends of Iatmul lime spatulas were carved witha series of ridges. To express pride, assertiveness, or anger,Iatmul men rapidly thrust the spatula in and out of the limecontainer so that the ridges, rubbing against the edges ofthe hole in the top, produced a harsh grating noise.