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Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1890-1908 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lesan (painter)
    Pure Bamboos Studio (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Transparent grey glass, painted inside in black, blue, white, green and brown

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Charles Lund, Esq.

  • 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

This object is a double bottle consisting of two oblong flattened flask form bottles with raised panels on each exposed surface and shoulders curving to wide cylindrical necks. They are made of glass, transparent grey, painted inside in black, blue, white, green and brown.
Each bottle has a dome-shaped stopper made of green glass.
The decoration depicts a landscape scene with buildings and an inscription meaning 'Painted by Lesan' (or 'Yuesan'). There is a figure in a landscape and an inscription 'Painted in the Pure Bamboos Studio'. On the reverse there are butterflies and flowers; a grasshopper on a cabbage leaf, with another plant, perhaps nadina, behind.
The high foot is solid underneath.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1890-1908 (made)


Lesan (painter)
Pure Bamboos Studio (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Transparent grey glass, painted inside in black, blue, white, green and brown

Marks and inscriptions

'Painted in the Pure Bamboos Studio'

'Painted by Lesan'


Height: 5.4 cm

Descriptive line


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.




Painting (image making)

Subjects depicted

Butterfly; Grasshopper; Buildings; Plants; Flower


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories


East Asia Collection

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