Sireh box

This richly ornamented box, also known as a 'cembul', refers to any circular receptacle with a tightly fitted lid or a round, globular container divided to form two tight concave parts. These small boxes were devised to hold tobacco along with sliced areca nuts so that the user did not have to carry the whole sireh set with them.Betel chewing was practised throughout the Malay Archipelago for centuries, and was common to all social classes. The practice remained popular until the mid 20th century. People chewed betel for its mildly narcotic effects and as a social activity. Betel chewing played a vital part in every important ceremony – from weddings to funerals.

Indigenous Name
20th century
Kedah, Malay Peninsula
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum