AUD $140.00

Indian, Brass Lime pot

A worn old brass Indian Limepot, for holding "chunam"_, the paste made of crushed coral or lime for use in preparing_"Paan".

“Paan” is the mixture of lime, spices and sliced “areca nut” (Areca catechu) wrapped in a “betel leaf” (Piper betle), that’s chewed in India and South East Asia, for its mildly stimulating, narcotic effect.
This “areca nut” is often erroneously refered to as “betel nut”, which seems though to be the term generally used.

The crushed lime “chunam” required a little preparation before use, then ready it needed to be carried with you, the other ingredients being more immediately accessible.

Seen often, used by the elderly and easily recognised by the blackened teeth and red saliva it causes.

Both addictive and cancer causing, it’s said, also the cause of all those dribbly red stains on walls and pavements in India.

This very worn cast brass globe opens as two hinged hemispheres.
And fits comfortably in the hand, one of those “hold me” shapes.

I don’t see how it stays closed, though, unless it was wrapped then tightly tucked in clothing.

However, there is a suspension ring at the hinge, which is novel in itself, incorporating a double hinge allowing an extra wide opening.
As a specific design feature, this must represent a particular function, possibly nestled in the hand, the nipples slip between the fingers for stability?

It has acquired a smoothly mellowed surface patina, and would rather not get polished.

Betel Paraphernalia is a wide field for Collectors with “betel cutters” (sarota), Paan boxes (pandans), in so many styles from all over South Asia.
(in Central Asia, it’s more likely to be “Tobacco Snuff” that is comsumed.)

Hopefully you’ll find some related items on our site as they come to hand, try searching.

Age: 19th/ Early 20 th Century.

Size: H 48 mm x W 48 mm.

Weight: 64 grams