This is an interesting spherical brass box with detailed engraving and finial of a bird with handles at the sides. It opens with a simple loop on loop mechanism. Such boxes were apparently made in India to contain the lime paste (chunum) which was one of the components required to make the finished product of a betel quid. This was constructed from thin slices of the nut from the areca palm mixed with the lime paste (often made from ground seashells and spices). The whole mixture was then wrapped in a fresh leaf from the betel tree and the final product was called a quid. Betel was considered a gentle stimulant and alkaline digestive and it was also considered a great honor to partake in this custom and an even greater honor to be given a box. As well as in India, many other Eastern societies also used betel. Height 4 ins (10cm). Weight 296 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 185.
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