Snuff Bottle thumbnail 1
Snuff Bottle thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery

Snuff Bottle

1736-1795 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Snuff Bottle
  • Stopper
Materials and Techniques
Glass painted in coloured enamels. Coral stopper set in metal, incised.
Brief Description
Snuff bottle, glass painted in coloured enamels, Beijing, China, Qing dynasty, Qianlong reign period, 1736-1795
Physical Description
Snuff bottle, flattened octagonal flask with a curved oval panel on each side, cylindrical neck, no foot but with faceted indentation underneath. Opaque white glass painted in blue, red, green, purple, brown and black enamels with two figures walking in a landscape with a building, pine trees and a mountain in a distance; on the reverse with the same building and a figure standing by pine trees with mountains in a distance; faceted sides painted with formal rosettes in red on a blue ground. Dome-shaped coral stopper set in metal with incised decoration.
Dimensions
  • Height: 3.9cm
Styles
Gallery Label
  • Snuff bottle Qianlong reign period 1736-1795 Snuff is powdered tobacco blended with aromatic herbs or spices. The habit of snuff-taking spread to China from the West during the 17th century. Glass painted in coloured enamels, Bronze stopper with coral inset Imperial workshops, Beijing Salting Bequest Museum no. C.1583-1910(2009)
  • C.1583-1910 Octagonal form with elliptical panel on each side; graduated stopper, dome-shaped at the top, with figure indentations. Glass, opaque white, with decoration in enamel colours, blue, red, green, purple, brown and black; stopper of coral set in brass with incise decoration. Two figures walking in a landscape, with a building, pine tree, and mountains in the distance; on reverse, the same building, a figure standing by the pine tree, and mountains in the distance; faceted surfaces have panels containing rosettes. Illustrated in Stevens, p. 270 no. 972; the style and high quality of the landscapes suggests a date in the Qianlong period (1736-1795); it has been suggested that this bottle was made in the Beijing Palace Workshops. No footrim; rectangular indentation underneath base. 1736-1795 H. 3.9cm Salting Bequest.(pre 2005)
Credit line
Salting Bequest
Production
The style and high quality of the landscapes strongly suggest that this bottle was made during the Qianlong period (1736-95). The enamelling is worn on the reverse and on the angles of the faceted side surfaces.
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • White, Helen. Snuff Bottles from China. London: Bamboo Publishing Ltd in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1992. pp. 134-135, plate 59.
  • Stevens, Bob C. The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles. New York: Weatherhill, 1976. p. 270, no. 972.
  • Kerr, Rose (ed). The T.T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art & Design. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1991. p. 137, no. 57.
Collection
Accession Number
C.1583&A-1910

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJuly 16, 1998
Record URL