Pandan – Betel-leaf and Spice Boxes in a Tray


Pandan – Betel-leaf and Spice Boxes in a Tray



Filigree is a very popular and perhaps one of the most fascinating techniques of the silversmith’s craft. Cuttack in Orissa and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh are the two most famous centres of this craft, known for their very delicate workmanship.The technique involves melting 16 parts of silver with one part of lead and casting it into bars or sticks by pouring it into moulds. The next stage involves beating the bars or sticks into plates and wires. Designs or patterns are formed by taking the wires one by one, and carefully arranging them on a mica sheet, bonded by a special cement. The different parts are then joined by soldering. The ready article is cleaned and given the finishing touches.

This pandan consists of five rectangular boxes with lids, placed on a tray. The large box in the centre is for betel-leaves and the four small boxes around it are to hold the spices – betel-nuts, cardamoms, cloves, etc. – used for the preparation of the paan. All the panels of the boxes have meandering creepers with a small gilded flower at the centre. The tray also has the same design; its curved sides have leaf patterns at the edges. The silver wire used here is flat, which indicates that it belongs to Cuttack, one of the oldest centres of filigree work.

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.


Indian Decorative Art

Object Type

Decorative Art


Silver filigree






Late 19th Century CE


Cuttack, Odisha


7.4 x 21 x 17.3 cm