Indian Brass Betel Nut Box

c. 1900
$488 USD
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W: 6.5" D: 5.0" H: 3.25"
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This ornate Indian betel nut box dates back to the early 20th century. Known in India as a paan daan, this box was used in the ritual of chewing betel nut or paan, a practice that dates back over four thousand years. Shared with others as a gesture of hospitality, betel quid is a blend of betel leaves, areca nuts, slaked lime and spices, and is typically kept in finely worked boxes with interior compartments.

Prominent to this betel caddy box are its canted corners, sloped handle, and intricate compartments that neatly tuck into the brass frame. One compartment still has leftover residue from the slaked lime used to make paan. The exterior and compartment lids are decorated with hand-painted floral and geometric motifs rendered in gold pigment. The gilded exterior gives way to the brass interior that features a rustic patina beautifully worn with time.

From the collection of Frances and Gary Comer.

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