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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1780-1909 (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 squarish flattened flask form with shoulders sloping up to a short cylindrical neck with a wide neck-hole. The bottle has a flat, slightly domed coral stopper with the finial missing.
It is made of chalcedony and moss agate, pale grey with dark green skin, with decoration carved in relief.
The carved relief depicts a grasshopper on a cabbage leaf and the foot has an indentation underneath.
The green skin is used for the carved decoration; there is no background carving and the reverse is left plain.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1780-1909 (made)




Height: 5.3 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

Grasshopper; Leaf


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories


East Asia Collection

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