This is a gorgeous, finely made cinnabar-colored early 20th century Burmese lacquer betel box. The deep hatbox style lid fits snugly over the high-sided container, which holds one fitted tray inside. The exterior features a subtle, terrifically intricate design rendered in shades of orange, while the design on the interior container is more pronounced, with a stronger use of an orange-yellow, as is the bottom of the interior tray.
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.
This box measures 5” tall with a diameter of 5 3/4”. There is some wear to the lacquer around the rims on the top and bottom of the box, but it is in overall very good vintage condition. Really a wonderful piece!