Betel box covered with silver and glit plates

This lidded betel set known as 'kotak sireh'. This rhomboid shaped wooden box is covered with repoussé silver plates decorated with floral motifs and framed with gilt silver strips. The box would hold all the ingredients, such as areca nut, lime, tobacco, betel leaves and gambier, necessary for chewing sireh. The practice of chewing 'sireh' (betel) dates back deep into the prehistory of Southeast Asia and remained popular until the early part of the 20th century. Sireh is a mild narcotic that has a calming effect and chewing sireh was often a highly ritualized social custom, especially in the Southeast Asian courts.