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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1909 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • 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 an oval flattened flask form, with sloping shoulders and a dome-shaped stopper.
It is made from glass, opaque white, with overlay of blue glass carved in relief. The stopper is an imitation pearl set in metal.
The decoration depicts two confonted dragons forming a stylized long character, meaning 'dragon'.
The splayed foot is formed by the overlay, with indentation underneath.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1750-1909 (made)




Height: 6.3 cm

Descriptive line

Glass snuff bottle, opaque white, with overlay of blue glass carved in relief, with stopper of imitation pearl set in metal, 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

Geometric patterns; Dragon


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories; Glass


East Asia Collection

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