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Unusually Large Burmese Lacquered Betel Box

circa late 19th century

height: 25.4cm, diameter: 26.4cm



UK art market

Not only is this lacquered box for storing betel and the components to make a betel quid unusually large, it is also in unusually good condition.

Such a large and finely decorated box would have been reserved for a particularly wealthy client – someone who would have expected to receive a lot of guests into their home.

The box comprises a base, a cover that fits right over the base, and two internal trays.

It is decorated very finely with busy and complex court scenes showing the king and courtiers in various palatial settings, all in  red, green, yellow, orange and black lacquer.

The exterior also has nine separate fields of finely rendered Burmese script. Most probably the script include the name of the maker and the place of manufacture, probably Pagan.

There is minor wear to the lacquer, but otherwise, the box is in excellent condition for its age and size.


Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Lacquerware, White Orchid Books, 2000.

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