Offered is this impressive late 19th Century Burmese 950 silver Betal box most likely from the Shan people of Eastern Burma. This chased silver box is comprised of three pieces - a base, a cover and an internal tray. There is a flared rim around the top of the cover and the base sits on an equally flared foot. The cover stretches down over most of the box. The slightly domed top is lavishly decorated in fine repoussé work as is the rest of this beautiful piece.
The design on the top and sides is repetitive and includes animals, scrolls and patterns. The figures on the sides seem to depict a stag. On the bottom is an etched and impressed 'maze' pattern. Both the copper dish and 'smooth areas' of the silver show a lightly hammered finish - the copper dish being more so. As the copper dish is only about 1" deep, this leaves an interior open space of about 1 1/2" deep at the bottom of the canister. Burmese boxes of this design were used to hold various parts of the betal quid - a mild social stimulant which was chewed.
This stunning canister is in superior antique condition boasting a wonderful patina. No damage, dents or 'rubbing through' of the raised silver. The top fits very snugly and still comes on and off very smoothly. The copper dish also fits perfectly and is removed easily.
As is often the case with these pieces of old Burmese silver there do not seem to be any marks. However the piece acid tests for 950 silver. A fine feature of this piece is that it retains it's internal tray, which have usually been lost.
The canister measures 4 " high x 4 3/4" diameter and is a most decorative piece. The silver weight is 249g without the copper interior dish. The total weight is 389g.
Similar boxes can be seen in Lewis & Lewis 'Peoples of the Golden Triangle', 1984.
Please do not hesitate to be in contact for any further information or for more photos of this special piece.
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