Chased, Hinged Silver Betel Box
length: 10.8cm, width: 7cm, height: 2.3cm, weight: 150g
This attractive small box is of solid silver and has been finely chased on all sides and on the hinged cover with humming birds amid flowering shrub branches. It was probably intended to hold elements of the betel quid. The designs show possible Persian influence. This is not surprising as Persian traders made their homes in Bangkok in the 19th century and several Thai words today are actually loan words from Persian.
The base is stamped with the mark 寶昌 (‘Bao Chang’) which is likely to be the maker’s or retailer’s mark. It is also stamped twice with the Chinese for pure silver – 足銀 (‘zu yin’).
It is likely to have been made by Thai-Chinese silversmiths in Bangkok in the 19th century.
Naengnoi Punjabhan, Silverware in Thailand, Rerngrom Publishing, 1991.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3537
The marks to the base.