The Online Guide to Chinese Snuff Bottles

Tobacco reached China by the end of the 16th century. This was the time when snuff was introduced to the Chinese people. It was widely believed that snuff powder helped in digesting and many other things. But, however, the use of snuff bottles came into the scene only about the middle of the 18th century.

The traditional shape of snuff bottle was small so that it could be kept inside the palm. But later, at the time of Chien Lung period, additional accessories were added. These include a small spoon attached to the stopper and one hemispherical piece of jade was installed.

Snuff bottles are generally made of a good variety of materials. These often include ivory, quartz, jade, jadeite, coral, turquoise, agate, lapis lazuli etc. These snuff bottles are also made of gold and silver. But above all that glass remains the most favorite building material.

Metal oxides were mixed with ordinary glass to give it a fine sculptural pattern. Later many good pictures were painted on the glass giving these snuff bottles a charming hue and shape. The usual place of cutting was in Beijing.

Many snuff bottles have their maker’s name on the bottle. “Chien Lung” is the most common name that you are likely to find in large numbers of these bottles. Apart from this a good number of snuff bottles were made during the reign of Tao Kuang.

It’s a good hobby to collect these snuff bottles, which have the stamp of Chinese culture and history. The most charming and most fashionable bottles are those which have paintings on their interior walls. There is a variety of snuff bottles that you can choose from.


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