Our catalogue > Betel-related Antiques

Betel (also known as paan or sirih) is the palm nut, lime powder & vine leaf quid that traditionally was chewed in South & Southeast Asia and was a social narcotic similar to alcohol or tobacco. The Dutch colonialists particularly also took up the habit. Elaborate boxes for storing betel and other associated paraphernalia were made. This page is reserved for such objects.

Each item is for sale.

Each piece has been sourced from within the UK, often from old, colonial-era collections.

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4052

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Unusually Large, Silver Filigree Betel Box

Dutch East Indies, or possibly India
circa 1700

length: 22.3cm, width: 16cm, height: 10cm, weight: 1,675g

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Provenance

Private London collection (estate)

3791

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Dutch Colonial Betel Box of Amboyna Wood & Pierced Silver Mounts

Batavia, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)
18th century

height: 9cm, length: 19.5cm, depth: 13.5cm

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Provenance

private collection, UK.

3381

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Sri Lankan Silver Betel Lime Box (Killotaya)

Sri Lanka
18th-19th century

height: 6.6cm, weight: 77g

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Provenance

French art market

2722

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Dutch Colonial Amboyna Wood Betel Box with Silver Mounts

Batavia, Dutch East Indies,
first half of the 18th century

width: 19.2cm, depth: 13.2cm, height: 7.6cm

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Provenance

UK art market; the Countess Anastasia Mikhailovna de Torby/Russian royal family by repute

226

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Four Jamnagar ‘Gulab’ Betel Cutters Made in India for the Indonesian Market

Jamnagar, India, but collected in Java, Indonesia.
19th-20th century

length: each is approximately 15 cm

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Provenance

private collection, London; acquired in the 1980s in Indonesia.

314

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Engraved Malay Brass Betel or Tobacco Box

Malay Peninsular
19th century or earlier

length: 16.4 cm; width: 8.7 cm; height: 6.6 cm

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Provenance

UK art market

3229

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Colonial Batavian Silver & Gilt Betel Box Set

Batavia, Dutch East Indies
early 19th century

length of box: 21.3cm, depth: 13.6cm, height: 7cm, combined weight: 1,159g

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Provenance

UK art market

641

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Engraved Silver Betel & Lime Boxes

Sumatra, Indonesia
19th century

length: 6.7cm, chain length: 21.5cm, total weight: 128g

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640

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Engraved Silver Betel & Lime Boxes

Sumatra, Indonesia
19th century

length: 6.5cm, total weight: 117g

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Provenance

private collection, London.

639

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Engraved Silver Betel Box

Sumatra, Indonesia
19th century

length: 8cm, combined weight: 148g

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Provenance

private collection, London

1010

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Sri Lankan Tortoiseshell Betel Box with Engraved, Parcel-gilt Silver Mounts

Sri Lanka
late 18th century

length: 16cm, width: 12cm, height: 5.2cm, weight: 305g

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Provenance

UK art market

1715

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Exceptionally Fine Indian Deccan Parcel-Gilt Silver Filigree Pandan

Deccan, India
18th century

height: 5cm, length: 9.6cm, weight: 77g

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Provenance

UK art market

1716

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Dutch Colonial Amboyna Wood & Red Lacquer Betel Box with Silver Mounts

Batavia, Dutch East Indies
late 17th-early 18th century

height: 8.8cm, length: 20cm, depth: 14.5cm, weight: 794g

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Provenance

collection of Paul Walter; Spink, London

2109

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Malay Cast Brass Spittoon (Ketur)

Kelantan, Malaysia
19th century

height: 9.4cm, diameter: 14.5cm, weight: 894g

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Provenance

private collection, UK.

2110

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Mughal Inscribed Cast Brass Spittoon (Cuspidor)

North India or the Deccan
17th century

height: 10.4cm, diameter: 11.7cm, weight: 449g

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Provenance

UK art market

2182

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Sepik Lime Container in the form of a Rooster on a Crocodile

Iatmul People, Middle Sepik River Region, Papua New Guinea
early 20th century

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Provenance

Francis de Sales McHugh Collection, and thence by descent, collected by de Sales McHugh in the early 20th century.

2245

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Bugis Gold & Silver Betel Box

Bugis People, South Sulawesi, Indonesia
19th century

length: 25.5cm, width: 11.1cm, height: 9.5cm, weight: 724g

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Provenance

private collection, UK.

2106

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Indonesian Engraved Silver Betel/Tobacco Box with Engraved Gold Plaque

Sumatra, Indonesia
18th-19th century

length: 10.4cm, width: 4.8cm, height: 4.1cm, weight: 147g

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Provenance

private collection

2708

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Large Indonesian Cast Brass Lime Container

Toba Batak People, North Sumatra, Indonesia
circa 1900

diameter of sphere: 11.2cm

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Provenance

UK art market

2825

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Dutch Colonial Betel Box of Ebony with Silver Mounts

Sri Lanka or Batavia, Dutch East Indies
18th century

length: 21cm, depth: 15cm, height: 7.5cm

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Provenance

UK art market

3083

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Four-Piece Gilded Lacquer Processional Betel Holders

Burma
circa 1900

heights: 18cm-37cm

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Provenance

UK art market; almost certainly this set has been in the UK since colonial times.

3535

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Mindanao Philippines Silver-Inlaid Brass Betel Box

Mindanao, Philippines
19th-20th century

length: 25cm, height: 13.3cm, depth: 12.6cm

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Provenance

UK art market