Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:


  • Artist/Maker:


  • 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 globular form, slightly flattened, with a particularly wide neck-hole and a dome-shaped stopper.
It is made of chalcedony, pale honey colour with tawny yellow and dark brown inclusions. The stopper is of coral, carved and set in gilded metal.
The decoration depicts a Pekinese dog, wearing a collar with circular ornaments. On the reverse there is a bird and a magic fungus and on one shoulder, a bird. The stopper is carved with an interweave pattern.
The bottle has a small oval base with angular indentation underneath and no foot.
The inclusions determine the placing of the carved decoration.

Place of Origin

China (made)






Height: 4.9 cm

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

Dog (animal); Magic fungus; Bird


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories


East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.