This is a great example of a Bhutanese lime box. Shaped to resemble Mount Meru, the central mountain in the Theravada Buddhist cosmos. Atop the Mount is seen a design of the triratna, a symbol of the three jewels: buddha, dharma and sangha, surrounded by petals and lotuses.
Such boxes were used to hold lime (usually obtained from imported crushed, burned seashells) which was a necessary part of the betel quid that was chewed as a mild narcotic.
Made from copper, the top looks as though it was gilted with gold . The top has been slightly bent out of shape but the container is in generally good condition.
The chewing of betel, or pan as it is called in North India has had a long history in South Asia. It is particularly appreciated after meals because of its alkaline content, but it can be consumed at any moment, and has come to be associated with a leisured and refined style of life. Its consumption was important both at court in the etiquette of the upper classes.