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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1895 (made)

  • 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 flattened flask form with a two-part flattish stopper.
It is made of chalcedony, honey colour with green skin, with carved decoration. The stopper is of blue and pink glass.
The carved decoration depicts a fisherman on his boat by a rock. On the reverse there is a pair of mandarin ducks, lotus and water with magic fungus growing from a rock.
The faceted foot has a high angular indentation underneath.
The skin is carved in relief to form the decoration; there is no background carving.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1750-1895 (made)




Height: 6.0 cm

Descriptive line

Scu, China, carving, chalcedony

Scu, China, carving, chalcedony

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

Boats; Duck (bird); Lotus; Rock; Magic fungus; Fishermen (people)


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories


East Asia Collection

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