Inventory no.: 1103

Bhutanese Lime Betel Box


Parcel-Gilt Engraved Silver Covered Lime Box


early 20th century

diameter: 5cm, height: 3.2cm, weight: 81g

Bhutan has a culture of betel chewing in the manner of India and Southeast Asia. Lime is an integral part of the betel quid. Bhutanese mean would have carried a container such as this in their robes or attached to their belt, which held powdered lime.

The container is in two halves which are kept together by two ringlets. The interior contains lime residue. The domed lid is engraved with floral and stylised cloud motifs incorporated within scrolling leaf motifs which cleverly combine to make a double

vajra motif amid all the foliage work. The cloud and flower motifs have gold highlights. The sides are engraved with scrolling foliate and floral work, again with gold highlights. The based is etched with a leaf and stem design against a ring-mat ground.

An example of a Bhutanese domed silver lime container is illustrated in Myers & Bean (1994, p. 123).

Overall, this is a fine, small piece, nicely engraved and made all the more attractive with the parcel gilding.


Myers, D., and S. Bean (eds), From the Land of the Thunder Dragon: Textile Arts of Bhutan, Serindia, 1994.


UK art market.

Inventory no.: 1103