There’s vintage … and then there’s VINTAGE. Admired by serious collectors, Mary is an heirloom piece that is sure to be treasured by generations to come. There’s really nothing like her, and her story is as enticing as her intricate design. For more than 2,000 years, select Asian cultures have practiced the time-honored tradition of betel nut chewing. Throughout history, the wealthiest of betel nut chewers chose to show their status through the display of ornate, silver or gold betel quid containers. Mary is one such container. Her price reflects her rarity and her impressively massive size. She’s a statement piece, a family heirloom, a standout gift, and a personal slice of ancient history all rolled into one. We do not know of another betel nut box of this stature available for purchase - truly phenomenal - and Mary's beautiful and intricate design, impressive size, and rarity make it an ideal piece for serious collectors. Pass it down to future generations and keep her story alive for generations to come!
Betel chewing permeated every layer of Cambodian society from the Court downwards. It was enjoyed by men and women alike and proffered in hospitality. The chewing of betel required elaborate preparation with many ingredients and specialised equipment; areca nuts, betel leaves, lime paste, tobacco, additional spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, camphor and cutters, spittoons and mortars. The different ingredients and associated objects were all kept in separate boxes and these containers would be stored together inside a much larger container. Containers could be made from wood, clay, brass, copper and precious metals and were often made to resemble a natural form; vegetables, birds, fruits and animals were all popular. Gold containers were for the exclusive use of the royal family and their courtiers and, below them, only the very rich were able to afford a full set of silver boxes.
Betel chewing was a key part of many social engagements and ceremonies, particularly betrothal and marriage, with the exchange of betel taking place when a contract or agreement had been reached. Consequently, betel containers were a highly prized possession and a key signifier of a family’s social standing.