This is a classic and comparatively rare betel box stated to be made by the Maranao Islamic people from the Philippines. The box is of intricate geometric inlay of silver on a metal base and this example has the added feature of brackets with “wheels” – the wheels being made from coins from the Philippines. It has two side carrying handles and decorative hinges. The interior reveals four decorative lids with similar inlay decoration. The two side lids can be lifted to reveal smaller compartments, one of which shows lime paste residue. The two central lids open out to reveal a larger compartment. This box would have been used to store the components and probably the finished product of betel which was a popular gentle stimulant when it was chewed. When acquired, this box had a label stating that there was a similar example in the Aga Khan Museum and it was illustrated on page 35 of “Arts of Asia, Volume 7, No. 5 Sept/Oct 1977”. The condition of this box is excellent for age and it would grace any collection of Asian arts. Please note that as this box weight just under 2.5 kilos there would be additional costs for shipping. Width 7.5 ins (19cm), depth 3.5 ins (8.9cm), height 4.75 ins (12cm). Weight 2482 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 185.
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