Inventory no.: 3033

Silver Betel Boxes


Two Silver Betel Boxes

Malay Peninsula/Sumatra

19th century

diameter (spherical example): 5.5cm, weight: 40g

height (lime box): 5cm, weight: 63g

These two betel-related silver boxes includes a small, spherical lidded box designed to be suspended from the belt or from a kerchief. It is typically Malay and has been repoussed all over with vegetal motifs. It was designed to hold either betel nut or chewing tobacco.

The other box has tapering, cylindrical sides with a lid attached to the base by means of two sets of chains. It is chased all over with Chinese-type motifs and was made by a Chinese craftsman in either the Malay Peninsula or probably Sumatra for a Malay or a

Peranakan (localised) Chinese client. It served as the container for powdered lime, an essential part of the betel quid. The box still holds remnants of lime.


Ho, W.M., Straits Chinese Silver: A Collector’s Guide, Times International, 1984.Provenance:

UK art market

Inventory no.: 3033