Inventory no.: 1038

Spice or Cosmetics Box


Silver Mughal Spice or Cosmetics Box

Northern India

18th century

diameter: 10.2cm, height: 6cm, weight: 151g

This small and intricate spice box (masaladan) or cosmetics box (chaughara) has four compartments. It sits flatly on four zoomorphic, clawed feet.

The box is of old, high-grade silver (it has not been highly polished but left with its original patina.)

The angular bud finial hides a screw with a hand-cut thread which screws down to hold the covers of the four compartments closed.

Once out, the hinged lids of the four compartments are free to open and reveal small boxes in which spices taken after a meal to freshen one’s breath or cosmetics for men such as sandalwood paste and vermilion could be stored.

The covers and the sections between the compartments are decorated with applied silver flowers (some losses)

Each compartment is separated by a gilded serrated leaf that terminates in a bud motif, and each compartment lid is similarly decorated with the bud motif

acting as a small handle with which the lid can be raised.

Overall, this item is an elegant and jewel-like accoutrement of Mughal India.

Inventory no.: 1038



Item 801

for another example.