Two Engraved Brass Betel or Tobacco Boxes
North Sumatra (Probably Aceh), indonesia
length: 12.3cm, height: 4cm, width: 5.6cm, 235g
These two brass boxes with tightly fitting hinged lids were made to hold tobacco or betel nut. Both are engraved with typically Islamic, Malay-inspired designs – rococo-like flourishes, stylised orchid blooms, scrolling foliage and the like. The designs are on all sides and the covers. The interiors have heavy encrustation from use.
Such boxes appear to be modelled after Dutch tobacco boxes and are a legacy of the contact that Dutch colonialists and traders had with Indonesia.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1203
Dried betel kernels that have been cracked open.
Each is about 1.5 cm across.
An areca palm from which betel nuts are sourced.