Antique Burmese Lacquer Kun-It Betel Box

Regular price $85.00

I have fallen in love with Burmese lacquer, and keep a keen eye out for it. This is the smaller of two lovely Burmese bamboo lacquer betel boxes currently in the shop, this one dating I believe to the late 19th/early 20th century.  The deep hatbox style lid fits snugly over the high-sided container, which holds one fitted tray inside. The box's interior lacquer is a deep, shiny red, and the exterior features intricately incised designs in black and cinnabar, with a bit of green as well, including on the bottom of both the box and the interior tray, which are black lacquer with incised patterns in green. 

Cylindrical boxes such as this, called kun-it, were used to store ingredients needed for betel chewing, a mild stimulant. Once a common practice in southeast Asia, betel chewing was central to social interaction, and the betel box was an important object, offered to guests in a gesture of hospitality for them to select their preferred ingredients. 

The box is In very good condition overall. There is a bit of wear to lacquer around its edges and on its interior, and a bit of cracking to the surface of the lacquer on the bottom of the interior tray, which also shows some red marks, perhaps original to the making. It measures 3 1/2" tall x 4 1/8" in diameter.  So lovely!