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118-021 Antique Rare Cambodian Silver Betal/Lime Box

I started collecting Cambodian silver betal/lime boxes in 1980, in Bangkok. I have bought and sold over a hundred pieces. This one is the finest specimen I ever came across. It is the work of a true master silversmith. This piece represents the pinnacle of that metallurgical art form. It does not come any finer than this piece. These 900 silver Cambodian boxes have become a genuine collector's item and have appreciated greatly over time. They will never be made again. They were made to hold lime power, which is the essential ingredient of the betal or areca nut quid. This potion was a mild social intoxicant.
           This particular motif of Macchanu, son of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman and the Golden Mermaid Suvannamaccha is exceptionally rare. I have only seen five others on the Internet, none as elegant as this one. The base is paneled with repoussé floral and foliate designs.
             This deity comes from the Khmer version of the sacred Indian Ramayana holy book. The story of Suvannamaccha is only included in the Thai and Cambodian Valmiki versions of the Ramayana, as a Yuddhakanda episode. The story goes like this: 
               Lord Rama, of India, was at war with the malevolent deity Ravana, of Ceylon. Ravana kidnapped Rama's wife Sita. To rescue her, Lord Rama had to build a causeway, across the ocean, to link India with Ceylon, so he could use his army to invade Ceylon and rescue Sita. Rama assigned Hanuman with the task of building this causeway. The foundation of the causeway was to be made of large boulders. Every day, Hanuman's workers threw huge boulders into the ocean, and every day they disappeared. Hanuman entered the ocean and observed mermaids taking away the boulders. He looked for someone who was organizing this operation, and he discovered that it was the Golden Mermaid Suvannamaccha, Queen of all the Ocean's life. Hanuman tried to attack her, but she was far too skilled at evasion. Hanuman became enamored by her powers and began to fall in love with her. He decided to change his tactics and he began to woo her. She responded and they fell in love. Hanuman asked her why she was taking the boulders away, and she told him that she was the daughter of Ravana, and he had instructed her to do so. Hanuman related to her that Rama's wife had been kidnapped, by her father, and was in deep distress. The Golden Mermaid then told Hanuman that she now understood the situation and that she would see to it that all the boulders would be returned, and the work would proceed on the causeway. As this quest was completed, a son was born to Hanuman and Suvannamaccha, He was half monkey, half mermaid and his name was Macchanu.
             This love story is beloved to the Cambodian people and this deity Macchanu represents the overcoming of adversity through love. This piece is a treasure worthy of a serious collection, or an honored place in a museum.


a. Origin Cambodia
b. Estimated Age circa 1900
c. Craft (Embroidery etc) Handmade Repousse'/hammered relief with chased detail workmanship- 900 silver
d. Size (mention cm/inches) 5 1/2 inches long x 4 wide x3 1/2 deep 21.45 ounces 609 grams
e. Condition Report The item is in perfect condition.
f. Damage & Shortcomings No damage or visible wear whatsoever.
g. Item Location (Country) Thailand
Seller Name Michael Sandy
Seller's Email ID