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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1895 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Opaque white glass, with 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 an oval flattened flask form with a neck hole that is wide in relation to the neck walls. There is no stopper.
It is made of glass, opaque white, with overlay of red glass carved in relief.
The decoration depicts the roof of a pavilion amid waves; a bat and the sun amid clouds; to the right a horn, partly submerged and to the left another horn amid clouds. On the reverse there is a pavilion behind a wall, partly submerged by waves, with a bat and clouds overhead. There are rocks on each shoulder.
The straight foot is formed by overlay, with angular indentation underneath.
The decoration depicts the Eastern Sea where the Immortals live. A pair of horns is one of the Eight Precious Objects.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1750-1895 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Opaque white glass, with overlay of red glass carved in relief


Height: 6.1 cm

Descriptive line

Glass snuff bottle, opaque white with overlay of red glass carved in relief, China, ca.19th century

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

Seascape; Horn; Waves (water); Sun; Clouds; Pavilions (garden structures); Bat (animal); Rock


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories; Glass


East Asia Collection

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