Repousse Pandan Box

(inclusive of taxes)

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This item cannot be shipped outside India.


Size: 10.75 x 8 x 5.5 inches
Material: Brass
Origin: Lucknow


This is a rectangular repousse pandan with three tiers made in brass, probably from Lucknow. The top of the box has a carrying handle, under which is a rectangular raised design with curving pointed sides. Around this are raised beads of bronze in groups of three as decoration. At the front is a beautiful fretwork clasp. On either side of the box, attached to the lid and base, are long chains. These act like a hinge for the box so the lid doesn’t get lost or stolen.
Paan, in its simplest form, consists of slices of betel nut mixed with lime paste and wrapped in betel leaf. For more special paan many more ingredients such as coconut, saffron, fragrant spices or rose preserves could be added and so more compartments were required in the pandan to store these to serve. Inside this pandan is a larger central space, perhaps for the betel leaf. Then around the three sides are hinged lids with eight lotus bud finals as handles to lift and reveal the eight separate compartments inside. This entire tray then lifts out revealing a second tier, with one larger open compartment in the centre and two side compartments with lids, each of which have three compartments inside. The second tier also lifts out revealing a third layer with the same layout in the base of the box. The inside of the box has been at sometime tinned; this is because copper and brass vessels can react with acidic foods causing toxins, so traditionally the vessels or boxes would be tinned (as this one has been) to prevent this.
The history of chewing paan dates back about 2,500 years and its beautifully crafted accessories elevated it to a level of ceremony, much like the Japanese and tea. The word pandan was coined during the Sultanate and Mughal period, joining the Hindi word paan to the Persian suffix dan. “The offering of the royal paan to a courtier was a sign of extraordinary favour, and an even greater honour would be the offering of the betel container (pandan),” according to Mark Zebrowski.