Enough Snuff

Snuff bottle from Beijing’s 18th Century Imperial Workshops

Looking for a way to kick that nasty smoking habit? Try snorting your tobacco, the way nature and the aboriginal Americans who first grew it intended. The royal Manchu court were the first Chinese to snuff tobacco, part of their due tribute from western visitors, but soon crops in the Philippines made snuff available to all levels of society.

Rose-enameled double gourd glass snuff bottle with Qianlong’s mark, 1736-1780.


The problem lay in transporting it, for the clumsy wooden and silver boxes used by westerners allowed in too much humidity. The Chinese soon found that traditional glass medicine flasks were ideal, and with their age-old love for ornamentation of the commonplace, turned the snuff bottle into a high art form. The next time you have a few score thousand Euros laying around, why not buy something small and elegant, like a snuff bottle, rather than something large and goofy, like a Hummer?

A very rare Beijing enamel snuff bottle from the Imperial Palace Workshops, Beijing, with Qianlong four-character mark in blue enamel, 1736-1750.
4.13 cm high

A very rare and unusual turquoise
snuff bottle, 1700-1850
5 cm high

An amber bear-form snuff bottle, 1730-1850
4.56 cm high

Russet and white jade pebble snuff bottle, 1740-1860
6.27 cm high

Carved agate snuff bottle,Suzhou, 1740-1860
6.75 cm high

An iron-red and underglaze-blue porcelain dragon snuff bottle. Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 1736-1795, with Qianlong iron-red seal mark.
5.53 cm high.

Enamel snuff bottle used by emperor Qianlong himself.
4cm high

Baroque pearl, crystal, glass and gold Imperial snuff bottle, attributed to Guangzhou, 1760-179.
6.3 cm high

Another classic from Beijing’s Imperial Workshops
5.5 cm high

Snuff bottle by master craftsman Zhou Leyan, 1891.
Inside painted, ink and color on glass.
6.8 cm high
Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Contemporary snuff bottle, made in Xian in 1981
4.9 cm high
Tel Aviv Museum of Art

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3 Responses to Enough Snuff

  1. China Culture says:

    Those things are really full of creative sprit and historical values, although many tourists to China prefer natural scenery than historical places, there are many interested in the real Chinese culture.

  2. Chinese peole was so talent in ancient times that so many beautiful bronze wares and chinas, and even unitil now, we could not tell clearly how they did it!

  3. katrina angelica escalante cummings says:

    beautiful works of art.i have a few in my own personal collection.i’m hoping your kind office may assist me on who is the most renowned and trusted conoisseur-appraiser of antique-vuintage snuff bottles (chinese-asian) in Makati City,Philippines.will be most appreciative on your possible response.God Bless in Jesus name always+++

    awaiting sincerely and gratefully in Christ+++
    kat ;”+

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