Beautiful Antique Burmese Lacquered Betel Box with Original Interior Trays

Regular price $125.00

I am a great fan of traditional Burmese lacquer betel boxes but it has been quite a while since I've found a beautiful, finely made old one in very good condition, all of which this one definitely is. Early 20th century I believe, with green, orange, gold, silver and black lacquer, used to detail finely incised court scenes on the exterior sides and lid. Also incorporated are several fields of Burmese script, I believe likely showing the name and location of the maker. Pulling off the top of the box reveals more finely incised decoration on the sides of the lower half, and its two original interior trays, which feature my favorite figures of all at the center of their undersides. Photos describe it all better than I can.

Burmese (Myanmar) lacquerware dates back to the 13th century, called “Thitsi” for the sap of the Thitsi Tree used for the lacquer. Cylindrical boxes such as this, called kun-it, were used to store ingredients used for betel chewing. All of the designs are incised/engraved by hand, with color applies one layer at a time. A box this size with this level of ornamentation I believe would likely have been used for serving guests.

Closed, as pictured in first photo: 6 1/4” t x 5 5/8” d. Trays sit snugly inside. Very good condition, with very minor surface cracking to the lacquer in a few spots and a bit of loss in two spots along the lip of the lower half, as documented, concealed when box is closed. Sound and stable and very well cared for.