Fine, Chased Mughal Silver Betel Box (Pandan)
length: 12.7cm, width: 9.6cm, height: 7.6cm, weight: 321g
This very fine rectangular, eight-sided pandan or betel (paan) box is of fine solid sheet silver. The domed cover has gadrooned sides reminiscent of lotus petals and a flattened, raised top that has been chased with Mughal floral scrolling. This chasing work is particularly fine and can be divided into two halves which are the mirror image of each other.
The sides of the box have two bands all the way around of stylised poppy flowers, very much in the Mughal style.
Silver and gold
paan boxes of this form first appeared in the seventeenth century. Zebrowski (1997) illustrates several examples dated variously to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The base is engraved with three letters in what might be Gujarati script. This is unusual and might be a later ownership mark.
Overall, this is a very fine example of 18th century Indian silverwork of which there are relatively few surviving examples. The condition is excellent for its age. There are no splits, dents or repairs. The top cover fits well over the base.
Terlinden, C., Mughal Silver Magnificence, Antalga, 1987.
Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press, 1997.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3543
Marks to the base.