The consumption of betel (pan) in India has been recorded as far back as the 1st century AD. Pan consists of thin slivers of the betel nut mixed with lime paste and spices, and rolled in a fresh betel leaf, and is frequently taken after a meal or at any time of day. Its consumption is often associated with the refined and leisured life style of the royal court and upper classes.
Pan is stored in a special container called a pandan, a word that emerged during the Mughal and Sultanate periods, deriving from the Hindi word pan and the Persian suffix -dan, although pan was not traditionally consumed in Persia. Later pandans were large enough to hold all of the individual ingredients of pan separately, but because of their smaller size, earlier examples, such as this, were probably used to store the readily rolled and stuffed pan.
Our pandan in form of a flowering lotus blossom has been delicately moulded to show the subtle folds and ridges between each petal. Considered to be a sacred plant symbolising the structure and life force of the universe, the lotus in the most common auspicious symbol in Indian art.