Inventory no.: 3490

Cambodian Silver Betel Box


Chased Silver Lion-Shaped Betel Box


circa 1920

length: 8cm, height: 7.3cm, depth: 4.3cm, weight: 65g

This fine, well-modelled silver betel box is unmistakably Cambodian, and dates to around 1920. Shaped as a plump, dog-like lion, it separates into a bottom and a top half. It was used to store elements of the betel nut quid, a mild social narcotic.

It is of chased and engraved silver. The facial features, hair and so on are all well delineated.

The base is marked with a short inscription in Cambodian script. Most likely this is either a maker’s mark, or a testament to either the purity or weight of the silver.

The box has obvious age but otherwise is in fine condition. Overall, it is a very fine piece.


Rooney, D., Betel Chewing Traditions in South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, 1993.Provenance:

private collection, UK

Inventory no.: 3490