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This octagonal or eight-sided pandan or betel (paan) box is of fine hammered sheet silver that has then been pierced all over to emulate filigree work. The box is of high-grade, solid silver.
It has a domed cover and the cover and sides are heavily pierced to emulate leafy scrollwork to Deccan or Mughal tastes.
Paan boxes of this form and with related decoration were produced in the second half of the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth century using a variety of different metalworking techniques. Zebrowski (1997, p. 56, 91) illustrates two examples in gold with enamelled floral sprays against a white ground, and another example of gilded copper flowers against a blue enamelled background.
Paan or betel was a mild social narcotic that was chewed across India, at every strata of society. Elaborate box and other receptacles evolved to house the various components of the paan quid.
This fine example is in excellent condition.
Terlinden, C., Mughal Silver Magnificence, Antalga, 1987.
Zebrowski, M., Gold, Silver & Bronze from Mughal India, Alexandria Press, 1997.