Betel box covered with silver and glit plates

This lidded betel set known as 'kotak sireh'. This rhomboid shaped wooden box is covered with repoussé silver plates decorated with floral motifs and framed with gilt silver strips. The box would hold all the ingredients, such as areca nut, lime, tobacco, betel leaves and gambier, necessary for chewing sireh. The practice of chewing 'sireh' (betel) dates back deep into the prehistory of Southeast Asia and remained popular until the early part of the 20th century. Sireh is a mild narcotic that has a calming effect and chewing sireh was often a highly ritualized social custom, especially in the Southeast Asian courts.

Indigenous Name
Kotak sireh
Artist Name
Malay People
Date/Period
19th century
Region
Riau-Lingga Archipelago, Indonesia
Dimension
Gross measurement: XXXX-06818-002: L32.0 x W19.0 x H13.4cm, Object size: XXXX-06818-001: L32.0 x W19.0 x H5.0cm
Accession No.
XXXX-06818
Material
Silver plate with some gilt, wood
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Category
Silver