Asian Art

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Betel Box, 1900-1930

Burma: Pagan, 1900-1930
Bamboo and lacquer, 3 pieces
4-1/4 x 8-1/4 in. (10.8 x 21.0 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Pratap and Chitra Pal
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

The design and composition of the pictorial representations on these decorative objects, with their complex narrative themes and rich floral designs, are characteristic of the Burmese lacquerware known as yun. The predominant use of red, orange, green and yellow is also a hallmark of this distinctive style. The two boxes displayed here were used to store the various ingredients used for making betel quid. Created by mixing betel leaves with areca nut and slaked lime, betel quid serves as a mouth freshener, a mild stimulant and a digestive aid.

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