AUD $130.00

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 tube, with heavy baluster banding, is tightly lidded with a matching banded, domed lid. This lid is like a tube, and is surprisingly long, twisting in to the jar very firmly, and now with a little difficulty not fully closing. (it stays about 5mm from closed, but is so snug that no lime could have escaped.)

And fits comfortably in the hand, one of those “hold me” shapes, where the grasping fingers slip automatically into the grooves between the raised bands.

The lid is joined to the main jar by a beaten heavily patinated, old handmade chain.
Unfortunately one link has given out, and is now missing, therefore the chain is incomplete.

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 83 mm x W 39 mm (including ring, suspending chain.)

Weight: 144 grams