Asian paan box, made in decorated brass in the shape of a large car. Being on wheels, it would have been rolled around the table for guests to mix their own paan. (Paan is a preparation of betel leaf with areca nut and/or cured tobacco. It is bound in tobacco leaves and chewed - slaked lime is often used to bind these leaves. There are many different ways of making paan, and chewing betel has a very long history in South East Asia. Different additives give different flavours, such as anise seed, cloves and cardamom. It is usually not swallowed, but spat out). Paan boxes have little compartments for the different ingredients. The wealthier the household, the more elaborate the box. On this one, the roof of the car hinges open, and a little brass tray is stored over the spice compartments - this could be used for assembling the ingredients. There are five little pots here. The tray that supports them can be removed and exposes more storage. The bonnet (hood) of the car also hinges open, and would have stored leaves or other ingredients. The boot of the car (trunk) is probably a later addition, being wood painted gold to match the brass. Car measures 33 cm long by 13.5 cm wide. It is 13.5 cm high. (13 inches by 5.3/8 inches by 5.3/8 inches) Very good vintage condition.
Asian Decorative Arts