Lot 241. An enamelled and gem set paan box, Hyderabad, Deccan, 1750-80; 6 3/8 ins. (16.2 cm.) across. Estimate USD 250,000 - USD 350,000. Price realised USD 435,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.
The lid set with diamonds on an engraved gold ground covered in green enamel, the inside and base decorated with dense floral designs in green and blue enamel.
Provenance: By repute, Nizams of Hyderabad
Habsburg Feldman, Geneva, 9 November 1987, lot 18
Christie’s, London, 8 October 1997, lot 390
Francesca Galloway, London Art Market.
Literature: Jaffer 2013, p. 193-94, no. 70.
Exhibited: Grand Palais, Paris 2017, p. 196, no. 148
The Doge’s Palace, Venice 2017, p. 227, no. 155
The Palace Museum, Beijing 2018, p. 249, no. 159.
Note: This diamond-set and enamelled box in the form of a betel leaf would have been used for holding and presenting paan. The use of a leaf shape is unusual for a paan container as they are more commonly seen in circular or octagonal form with a domed lid and an accompanying tray. The jeweled decoration of this box suggests that it was probably used in a courtly context and its small size suggests use in an intimate social setting. A carved nephrite jade box, dateable to the early 18th century, of comparable leaf form is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (C.1947 and A-1910; Skelton et al, 1982, pp.120-1, no. 368). Another comparable Deccani copper alloy paan box with pierced decoration, dating from the early 19th century, is in the Jagdish and Kamla Mittal Museum of Indian Art in Hyderabad, India (Jaffer 2013, p.194).
The gem settings and the translucent green enamel suggests that this paan box was probably made in Hyderabad in the late 18th century. For other examples of gem set and green enamelled objects from the Deccan in the sale, see lots 139 and 240.