Lime container (poporo)

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General Description

Coca chewing was and remains a common practice in the Andean regions for its suppression of hunger and fatigue. Andean populations would also activate the alkaloids of the coca leaf through the use of a lime stimulant. The lime powder could derive from either crushed shells or their byproduct, ground limestone. Ground lime was kept in small bottles (poporos), which could be carried within the coca bags, while the lime itself was applied by a small stick or spatula to a coca quid already in the mouth. Lime bottles from various South American populations have been recovered in gourd, carved wood, and metal forms, such as this gold container.

Adapted from

Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text [1983.W.120; 1976.W.487], 2015.