Rectangular Silver Pandan
This rectangular box is decorated in pierced and chased silver. The central oval and two rectangular borders on the flat cover are decorated with floral motifs amongst leafy scrolls. These borders, with similar floral and foliage motifs, are also presented on the base, which has a hinged cover concealing a mirror. There are also elegant bird motifs on the front and two sides of the object.
Since the 18th century, silver boxes such as this were made in a variety of shapes to store pan, which are edible leaves that were traditionally wrapped with lime paste, areca nuts and spices. Pan was used for its medicinal, digestive and aphrodisiac properties and was most likely introduced to the Mughal ruling classes by courtiers. Thus, the pierced silver work on pandan boxes had a practical use, for it aided to preserve the contents as air could travel through the box.
Christiane Terlinden. 1987. Mughal Silver Magnificence (XVI-XIXth C.); Magnificence de l’Argenterie Moghole (XVI-XIXème S.). Brussels: Antalga.