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Betel box
Place of Origin: Myanmar (Burma) or Northern Thailand, Shan state
Date: approx. 1875 - 1925
Materials: Silver
Dimensions: H. 2 1/2 in x Diam. 5 3/8 in, H. 6.3 cm x Diam. 13.7 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Metal Arts
Object Number: B60M130
On Display: No

Description

Label:

Painstakingly ornamented silver boxes for holding betel ingredients or tobacco would have been desirable luxury items among the Shan and northern Thai peoples. Chewing betel (a mixture of betel vine leaf, the nut of the areca or betel palm, quicklime, and sometimes spices or tobacco) was extremely popular.

The decoration on the side of this box, of eight stepped-cornered rectangles each enclosing an animal, calls to mind that of some Burmese lacquer objects such as 2008.81.A-.D (also a betel box), although here the animals are not easy to identify. They probably stand for the days of the week (with Wednesday, as was usual, divided in two).

The bottom of the box is entirely covered with an incised lattice pattern and the separated front and back halves of two small lion- or tiger-like creatures. Such patterns are thought to have been pictorial maker's signatures.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma" Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009 - January 10, 2010
Label:

Painstakingly ornamented silver boxes for holding betel ingredients or tobacco would have been desirable luxury items among the Shan and northern Thai peoples. Chewing betel (a mixture of betel vine leaf, the nut of the areca or betel palm, quicklime, and sometimes spices or tobacco) was extremely popular.

The decoration on the side of this box, of eight stepped-cornered rectangles each enclosing an animal, calls to mind that of some Burmese lacquer objects such as 2008.81.A-.D (also a betel box), although here the animals are not easy to identify. They probably stand for the days of the week (with Wednesday, as was usual, divided in two).

The bottom of the box is entirely covered with an incised lattice pattern and the separated front and back halves of two small lion- or tiger-like creatures. Such patterns are thought to have been pictorial maker's signatures.


Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma" Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009 - January 10, 2010