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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1895 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Semi-transparent white glass with an overlay of red glass, carved in relief

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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 rounded flattened flask form with no stopper.
It is made of semi-transparent white glass with an overlay of red glass carved in relief.
The decoration depicts a catfish lying on its back amongst water weeds, its head and tail curled upwards, the stalk of the lotus leaf in its mouth. One the reverse there is another catfish. A lotus leaf which enfolds the lower part of the bottle.
The partial foot is formed by the stem of the lotus leaf.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1750-1895 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Semi-transparent white glass with an overlay of red glass, carved in relief


Height: 5.9 cm

Descriptive line

Semi-transparent white glass snuff bottle with an overlay of red glass, carved in relief, China, 1750-1895

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.





Subjects depicted

Catfish; Lotus


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories; Glass


East Asia Collection

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