A Sultan's Silver and Gold Betel Nut Container
This exceedingly rare early 20th century silver inlaid container, raised on 18th century silver coin wheels, is a sultan's betel nut box from the Mindanao region in the southern Philippines. The scale may be unprecedented - measuring just over 20 inches long and weighing nearly 30 lb. It is made entirely of cast bronze, pure silver and rose gold in the traditional Muslim "okir" scroll pattern, a distinct motif often found on Maranao woodcarvings. The interior section is divided into three compartments enclosed beneath four silver inlaid and hinged doors.
Betel nut is a mild stimulant that is chewed throughout the Asian continent. The almost ceremonial and habitual chewing of the betel nut usually involves four ingredients: areca nut (bunga), fresh pepper leaves (buyo), powder lime (apug), and damp tobacco leaves. The white residue on the interior edges of each box is slaked lime (Calcium Hydroxide) which releases the alkaloid in the Betel Nut.
Dimensions: 20 inches long x 10 inches high x 7.5 inches deep.
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