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{"id":5592443945110,"title":"Antique Gold, Suasa \u0026 Silver Betel Compendium, Malaysia\/sumatra – 19th C.","handle":"antique-gold-suasa-silver-betel-compendium-malaysia-sumatra-19th-c","description":"\u003cp\u003eThis magnificent personal betel compendium has been made from silver, gold and suasa, an alloy of gold and copper with a reddish tinge, which was sometimes used in Malaysian and Sumatran metalwork. Very unusually, this set is complete with all its original parts. The objects have been highly ornamented utilising the three different metals and a wide range of techniques have been employed with great creativity.  The quality of the craftsmanship suggests the set was made during the nineteenth century.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis personal set was made to contain all the items necessary for preparing a betel quid.  It was intended to be worn hanging from the waist and suspended by the large central ring from which the chain hangers emanate.  The set comprises a betel box, a lime box and a set of implements.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe chain hangers comprise six or seven lengths of silver chain laid parallel to each other.  The arrangement was kept in position by the triangular terminals and rectangular spacers, fashioned from sheet silver, to which they are attached.  The terminals and spacers hold the chains in position and regulate their spacing.  \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn order to make a betel quid there were three essential ingredients:-  a leaf from the vine of the\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003epiper betle\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003epepper plant; lime, ground to a powder and slaked with water, and nuts from the\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eareca catechu\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003epalm.  Many other additives, including tobacco, spices and various flavourings were often added but these three ingredients were essential. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe lime was always kept in a separate container from the leaves and nuts.  The smaller box with the lid in the form of a\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003estupa\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ewould have been used to hold the lime. The reason for this may have derived from an ancient belief that poison could be easily added to the lime, which is possibly one reason why, apart from convenience, these personal sets became popular.  The lime could not be easily contaminated whilst attached to the owner’s person and under his constant observation. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe larger box has been made from silver and has been ornamented using repousse and chased techniques with applied gold and suasa. This box would have been used to contain betel leaves, areca nuts and other ingredients. It has a hinged lid with a silver hinge and a suasa thumb-piece to the front, for raising the cover.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe cover is of convex shape. To the top of the lid there is a figural panel: a pair of gold dragons’ heads face away from each other and appear to be emerging through the silver and suasa repousse foliage. Below them, a central stylised gold flower flanked by a pair of gold birds, probably hornbills, are feasting on stalks of small fruit or areca nuts.  Below, two areca palm trees in suasa are emerging from, and rooted in, a gold landscape. The whole surrounded by suasa with a zig-zag\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003ebiku gunungan,\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003emountain ranges pattern. The edge scalloped with a ‘sunburst’, similar in profile to the scalloped edges often found on Malay\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003edulang.\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe sides of the silver box are deeply ribbed.  The ribs are suasa and emanate from the centre of the underside of the box.  The central area has been capped with a circle of chased suasa. The area between the ribs has been ornamented with chased foliate sprigs and the perimeter of the underside is suasa. To the sides, between each plain suasa rib is a convex silver panel of repousse and chased ornamentation featuring a chased four-petaled flower in suasa at the centre between scrolling foliage.   \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAll three metals have also been used to create the lime box which has been ornamented in a variety of different ways using a range of techniques.  The body of the container has been fashioned from silver; it has a pull-off lid and is supported by a spreading circular foot.  The foot has been chased with zig-zag mountain ranges pattern.  The ground of one row has a punched ground whilst the otherhas been left plain.  The lower and upper halves of the box have been chased with simply outlined floral and foliate motifs set against a punched ground. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe container meets the cover at the halfway point where a band of suasa has been introduced. The finial is of conical shape and derives from the architecture of a\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003estupa.\u003c\/em\u003e  It has been made from a combination of gold and suasa.  The finial sits on a circle of mountain ranges pattern, constructed from pieces of applied silver sheet.  This is bordered by two circles of applied chased silver.  Below this, and resting on the top face of the container, is a collar of protruding petals, resembling those of the lotus flower.  Wide petals alternate with narrow ones: the narrow petals and the outline of the wider petals have been made from silver with suasa inlay filling the outline of the wide petals.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe set of seven implements comprises cutting tools, tweezers, spoons, spatulas and a prick.  Each has been fashioned by hand from a length of silver rod with a square section.  The top of each implement has been rounded and pierced to receive the ring which attaches it to the chain. The top third of each implement has been ornamented so as to resemble a small tower of building bricks, with simple but deeply chased geometric ornament and some 'bricks' appear to have had their edges hammered.  This ornamentation provides visual interest but also serves a practical purpose as it makes the implements easier to grip, particularly in a hot climate, where hands sweat more readily.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBetel chewing became widespread across South East Asia and the history can be traced back at least 2,000 years.  Betel chewing and betel ceremonies were woven into society at every level and betel was used by men and women of all ages including children in the past. Betel was ever present in people’s lives and was used in the rituals surrounding personal events such as courtship, engagement, marriage and before and after childbirth.  Betel was used by kings and commoners alike personally and in social situations.  It was also used to seal business and marriage contracts.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThere was a great deal of paraphernalia attached to the habit with containers of various sizes and shapes and special tools to cut the betel nuts and assemble the quid. Containers were made in many different materials such as wood, lacquer and various metals, according to income and social standing. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis is such a well made and richly ornamented set, it would undoubtedly have belonged to an extremely rich individual of very high rank and social standing.  Solid gold sets were often reserved for the use of the rulers and their immediate family.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance\u003c\/em\u003e:–  UK antique trade\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions\u003c\/em\u003e:– Total Length 48 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e                   Larger Box –   Height 6 cms, Width 8 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e                   Smaller Box – Height 6.5 cms, Width 5 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e                   Tools –               Max Length 8.5 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight\u003c\/em\u003e:– 480 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences\u003c\/em\u003e:–\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eDawn F Rooney, Betel Chewing Traditions in South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur 1993\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eH  Ling Roth, Oriental Silverwork Malay and Chinese, Oxford University Press, London 1993.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eRaimy Che-Ross, Malay Silverware, Arts of Asia, Volume 42, Issue 1, January-February 2012, pages 68-83\u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2020-08-09T23:54:59+01:00","created_at":"2020-08-09T23:54:58+01:00","vendor":"Joseph Cohen Antiques","type":"Betel Compendium","tags":["Sold Archive"],"price":0,"price_min":0,"price_max":0,"available":false,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":35689588588694,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default 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magnificent personal betel compendium has been made from silver, gold and suasa, an alloy of gold and copper with a reddish tinge, which was sometimes used in Malaysian and Sumatran metalwork. Very unusually, this set is complete with all its original parts. The objects have been highly ornamented utilising the three different metals and a wide range of techniques have been employed with great creativity.  The quality of the craftsmanship suggests the set was made during the nineteenth century.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis personal set was made to contain all the items necessary for preparing a betel quid.  It was intended to be worn hanging from the waist and suspended by the large central ring from which the chain hangers emanate.  The set comprises a betel box, a lime box and a set of implements.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe chain hangers comprise six or seven lengths of silver chain laid parallel to each other.  The arrangement was kept in position by the triangular terminals and rectangular spacers, fashioned from sheet silver, to which they are attached.  The terminals and spacers hold the chains in position and regulate their spacing.  \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eIn order to make a betel quid there were three essential ingredients:-  a leaf from the vine of the\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003epiper betle\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003epepper plant; lime, ground to a powder and slaked with water, and nuts from the\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003eareca catechu\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003epalm.  Many other additives, including tobacco, spices and various flavourings were often added but these three ingredients were essential. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe lime was always kept in a separate container from the leaves and nuts.  The smaller box with the lid in the form of a\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003estupa\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003ewould have been used to hold the lime. The reason for this may have derived from an ancient belief that poison could be easily added to the lime, which is possibly one reason why, apart from convenience, these personal sets became popular.  The lime could not be easily contaminated whilst attached to the owner’s person and under his constant observation. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe larger box has been made from silver and has been ornamented using repousse and chased techniques with applied gold and suasa. This box would have been used to contain betel leaves, areca nuts and other ingredients. It has a hinged lid with a silver hinge and a suasa thumb-piece to the front, for raising the cover.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe cover is of convex shape. To the top of the lid there is a figural panel: a pair of gold dragons’ heads face away from each other and appear to be emerging through the silver and suasa repousse foliage. Below them, a central stylised gold flower flanked by a pair of gold birds, probably hornbills, are feasting on stalks of small fruit or areca nuts.  Below, two areca palm trees in suasa are emerging from, and rooted in, a gold landscape. The whole surrounded by suasa with a zig-zag\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003ebiku gunungan,\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003emountain ranges pattern. The edge scalloped with a ‘sunburst’, similar in profile to the scalloped edges often found on Malay\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003edulang.\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe sides of the silver box are deeply ribbed.  The ribs are suasa and emanate from the centre of the underside of the box.  The central area has been capped with a circle of chased suasa. The area between the ribs has been ornamented with chased foliate sprigs and the perimeter of the underside is suasa. To the sides, between each plain suasa rib is a convex silver panel of repousse and chased ornamentation featuring a chased four-petaled flower in suasa at the centre between scrolling foliage.   \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eAll three metals have also been used to create the lime box which has been ornamented in a variety of different ways using a range of techniques.  The body of the container has been fashioned from silver; it has a pull-off lid and is supported by a spreading circular foot.  The foot has been chased with zig-zag mountain ranges pattern.  The ground of one row has a punched ground whilst the otherhas been left plain.  The lower and upper halves of the box have been chased with simply outlined floral and foliate motifs set against a punched ground. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe container meets the cover at the halfway point where a band of suasa has been introduced. The finial is of conical shape and derives from the architecture of a\u003cspan\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem\u003estupa.\u003c\/em\u003e  It has been made from a combination of gold and suasa.  The finial sits on a circle of mountain ranges pattern, constructed from pieces of applied silver sheet.  This is bordered by two circles of applied chased silver.  Below this, and resting on the top face of the container, is a collar of protruding petals, resembling those of the lotus flower.  Wide petals alternate with narrow ones: the narrow petals and the outline of the wider petals have been made from silver with suasa inlay filling the outline of the wide petals.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe set of seven implements comprises cutting tools, tweezers, spoons, spatulas and a prick.  Each has been fashioned by hand from a length of silver rod with a square section.  The top of each implement has been rounded and pierced to receive the ring which attaches it to the chain. The top third of each implement has been ornamented so as to resemble a small tower of building bricks, with simple but deeply chased geometric ornament and some 'bricks' appear to have had their edges hammered.  This ornamentation provides visual interest but also serves a practical purpose as it makes the implements easier to grip, particularly in a hot climate, where hands sweat more readily.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBetel chewing became widespread across South East Asia and the history can be traced back at least 2,000 years.  Betel chewing and betel ceremonies were woven into society at every level and betel was used by men and women of all ages including children in the past. Betel was ever present in people’s lives and was used in the rituals surrounding personal events such as courtship, engagement, marriage and before and after childbirth.  Betel was used by kings and commoners alike personally and in social situations.  It was also used to seal business and marriage contracts.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThere was a great deal of paraphernalia attached to the habit with containers of various sizes and shapes and special tools to cut the betel nuts and assemble the quid. Containers were made in many different materials such as wood, lacquer and various metals, according to income and social standing. \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis is such a well made and richly ornamented set, it would undoubtedly have belonged to an extremely rich individual of very high rank and social standing.  Solid gold sets were often reserved for the use of the rulers and their immediate family.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eProvenance\u003c\/em\u003e:–  UK antique trade\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eDimensions\u003c\/em\u003e:– Total Length 48 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e                   Larger Box –   Height 6 cms, Width 8 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e                   Smaller Box – Height 6.5 cms, Width 5 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e                   Tools –               Max Length 8.5 cms\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWeight\u003c\/em\u003e:– 480 grammes\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eReferences\u003c\/em\u003e:–\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eDawn F Rooney, Betel Chewing Traditions in South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur 1993\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eH  Ling Roth, Oriental Silverwork Malay and Chinese, Oxford University Press, London 1993.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eRaimy Che-Ross, Malay Silverware, Arts of Asia, Volume 42, Issue 1, January-February 2012, pages 68-83\u003c\/p\u003e"}

Antique Gold, Suasa & Silver Betel Compendium, Malaysia/sumatra – 19th C.

Product Description

This magnificent personal betel compendium has been made from silver, gold and suasa, an alloy of gold and copper with a reddish tinge, which was sometimes used in Malaysian and Sumatran metalwork. Very unusually, this set is complete with all its original parts. The objects have been highly ornamented utilising the three different metals and a wide range of techniques have been employed with great creativity.  The quality of the craftsmanship suggests the set was made during the nineteenth century.

This personal set was made to contain all the items necessary for preparing a betel quid.  It was intended to be worn hanging from the waist and suspended by the large central ring from which the chain hangers emanate.  The set comprises a betel box, a lime box and a set of implements.

The chain hangers comprise six or seven lengths of silver chain laid parallel to each other.  The arrangement was kept in position by the triangular terminals and rectangular spacers, fashioned from sheet silver, to which they are attached.  The terminals and spacers hold the chains in position and regulate their spacing.  

In order to make a betel quid there were three essential ingredients:-  a leaf from the vine of the piper betle pepper plant; lime, ground to a powder and slaked with water, and nuts from the areca catechu palm.  Many other additives, including tobacco, spices and various flavourings were often added but these three ingredients were essential. 

The lime was always kept in a separate container from the leaves and nuts.  The smaller box with the lid in the form of a stupa would have been used to hold the lime. The reason for this may have derived from an ancient belief that poison could be easily added to the lime, which is possibly one reason why, apart from convenience, these personal sets became popular.  The lime could not be easily contaminated whilst attached to the owner’s person and under his constant observation. 

The larger box has been made from silver and has been ornamented using repousse and chased techniques with applied gold and suasa. This box would have been used to contain betel leaves, areca nuts and other ingredients. It has a hinged lid with a silver hinge and a suasa thumb-piece to the front, for raising the cover.

The cover is of convex shape. To the top of the lid there is a figural panel: a pair of gold dragons’ heads face away from each other and appear to be emerging through the silver and suasa repousse foliage. Below them, a central stylised gold flower flanked by a pair of gold birds, probably hornbills, are feasting on stalks of small fruit or areca nuts.  Below, two areca palm trees in suasa are emerging from, and rooted in, a gold landscape. The whole surrounded by suasa with a zig-zag biku gunungan, mountain ranges pattern. The edge scalloped with a ‘sunburst’, similar in profile to the scalloped edges often found on Malay dulang.

The sides of the silver box are deeply ribbed.  The ribs are suasa and emanate from the centre of the underside of the box.  The central area has been capped with a circle of chased suasa. The area between the ribs has been ornamented with chased foliate sprigs and the perimeter of the underside is suasa. To the sides, between each plain suasa rib is a convex silver panel of repousse and chased ornamentation featuring a chased four-petaled flower in suasa at the centre between scrolling foliage.   

All three metals have also been used to create the lime box which has been ornamented in a variety of different ways using a range of techniques.  The body of the container has been fashioned from silver; it has a pull-off lid and is supported by a spreading circular foot.  The foot has been chased with zig-zag mountain ranges pattern.  The ground of one row has a punched ground whilst the otherhas been left plain.  The lower and upper halves of the box have been chased with simply outlined floral and foliate motifs set against a punched ground. 

The container meets the cover at the halfway point where a band of suasa has been introduced. The finial is of conical shape and derives from the architecture of a stupa.  It has been made from a combination of gold and suasa.  The finial sits on a circle of mountain ranges pattern, constructed from pieces of applied silver sheet.  This is bordered by two circles of applied chased silver.  Below this, and resting on the top face of the container, is a collar of protruding petals, resembling those of the lotus flower.  Wide petals alternate with narrow ones: the narrow petals and the outline of the wider petals have been made from silver with suasa inlay filling the outline of the wide petals.

The set of seven implements comprises cutting tools, tweezers, spoons, spatulas and a prick.  Each has been fashioned by hand from a length of silver rod with a square section.  The top of each implement has been rounded and pierced to receive the ring which attaches it to the chain. The top third of each implement has been ornamented so as to resemble a small tower of building bricks, with simple but deeply chased geometric ornament and some 'bricks' appear to have had their edges hammered.  This ornamentation provides visual interest but also serves a practical purpose as it makes the implements easier to grip, particularly in a hot climate, where hands sweat more readily.

Betel chewing became widespread across South East Asia and the history can be traced back at least 2,000 years.  Betel chewing and betel ceremonies were woven into society at every level and betel was used by men and women of all ages including children in the past. Betel was ever present in people’s lives and was used in the rituals surrounding personal events such as courtship, engagement, marriage and before and after childbirth.  Betel was used by kings and commoners alike personally and in social situations.  It was also used to seal business and marriage contracts.

There was a great deal of paraphernalia attached to the habit with containers of various sizes and shapes and special tools to cut the betel nuts and assemble the quid. Containers were made in many different materials such as wood, lacquer and various metals, according to income and social standing. 

This is such a well made and richly ornamented set, it would undoubtedly have belonged to an extremely rich individual of very high rank and social standing.  Solid gold sets were often reserved for the use of the rulers and their immediate family.

Provenance:–  UK antique trade

Dimensions:– Total Length 48 cms

                   Larger Box –   Height 6 cms, Width 8 cms

                   Smaller Box – Height 6.5 cms, Width 5 cms

                   Tools –               Max Length 8.5 cms

Weight:– 480 grammes

References:–

Dawn F Rooney, Betel Chewing Traditions in South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur 1993

H  Ling Roth, Oriental Silverwork Malay and Chinese, Oxford University Press, London 1993.

Raimy Che-Ross, Malay Silverware, Arts of Asia, Volume 42, Issue 1, January-February 2012, pages 68-83

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