Lidded container from a betel set


Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum
San Francisco, United States

Silver had a long history of use for royal regalia, religious objects, and betel sets in Siam. During the 1800s, silversmiths from China and Burma brought to Siam new shapes, techniques, and designs.
Until recently Siamese people of all ranks were fond of chewing "betel nut," actually a mixture of areca nut (the seed of a particular tropical palm), the leaf of the betel plant (a tropical vine in the pepper family that produces no nuts), and other ingredients. The addictive habit required owning a betel set, which typically consisted of three round, small lidded containers used for broken and cut nuts, a lidded cylindrical jar for lime paste, a small bowl, a receptacle for the betel leaves, and a tray on which to place these containers.
Sets varied in value according to the position and wealth of the owners: the higher the rank of the owner, the more elaborate the set. Sets with silver containers such as these would have belonged to high officials.


  • Title: Lidded container from a betel set
  • Date Created: 1800-1900
  • Location Created: Central Thailand
  • Physical Dimensions: H. 3 in x Diam. 2 in, H. 7.6 cm x Diam. 5.1 cm
  • Rights: Public Domain
  • Medium: Silver and gold with gemstones and enamel
  • Credit Line: Asian Art Museum, Gift from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Southeast Asian Art Collection, 2006.27.13.2.a-.b

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