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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Transparent glass with applied enamel

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 30

Snuff is powdered tobacco, usually blended with aromatic herbs or spices. The habit of snuff-taking spread to China from the West during the 17th century and became established in the 18th century. People generally carried snuff in a small bottle. By the 20th century these bottles had become collectors' items, owing to the great variety of materials and decorative techniques used in their production.

Physical description

The bottle is a slightly flattened inverted pear form without a stopper. It is made of transparent glass with applied decoration of blue, white and turquoise colours in thick enamel. The bottle has four sprays of prunus on each side. It does not have a separate foot but there is an angular indentation underneath the base. The technique of decoration and the shape are unusual.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1750-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Transparent glass with applied enamel


Height: 5.9 cm

Descriptive line

Transparent glass snuff bottle with applied enamel decoration, China, 1750-1850

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

White, Helen. Snuff Bottles from China. London: Bamboo Publishing Ltd in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1992. 291p., ill. ISBN 1870076109.


Glass; Enamel

Subjects depicted



ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories; Glass


East Asia Collection

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