About this object

A small round lime box used for storing pan or betel leaf. Finished with a conical lid, decorated with deep repousse. The lid features a large norbu gongkhil or swirling gem as a finial surrounded by thin lotus petals, followed by five auspicious sensory symbols including a bell, mirror, food offering, scarf and conch shell. The symbols and final are gilded. The base is incised with a large norbu gongkhil.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Container; Smoking Narcotics
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Asia: Southern Asia: Bhutan
  • Date made
    1904 before
  • Materials
    Silver; Gilt Metal
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from the collections of Norwich Castle Museum, 1956
  • Collector
    John Claude White
  • Place collected
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    46 mm x 78 mm
  • Note
    The label attached to the lime box notes 1904, suggesting this could have been given to White by the Bhutanese negotiating party in southern Tibet during the Younghusband punitive expedition. Written by Emma Martin.
  • Related people
    John Claude White (Collector)

Explore related


  • Mission to Lhasa 1903-1904

    Start date: 1903
    End date: 1903
    Description: The British Mission to Tibet during 1903 and 1904 was an invasion of southern Tibet by British Indian forces on the pretence of negotiating trade relations between Tibet and British India. However, this was instigated primarily in the hope of preventing the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a base in one of the buffer states surrounding British India. The expedition was led by Colonel (later Sir) Francis Younghusband. It had a damaging effect on the British reputation, many Tibetans were killed and monasteries and houses were looted and/or destroyed along the way. The 13th Dalai Lama feld Lhasa before the arrival of the expedition and Younghusband negotiated, a soon to be repelled, convention with the Tibetan government or Kashag in Lhasa that was signed in the Potala on 7 Septmber 1904.

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