Snuff Bottle

1780-1909 (made)
Not currently on display at the V&A

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
Brief Description
Scu, China, carving, chalcedony



Scu, China, carving, chalcedony
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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 5.3cm
Style
Credit line
Salting Bequest
Subjects depicted
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 Reference
White, Helen. Snuff Bottles from China. London: Bamboo Publishing Ltd in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1992. 291p., ill. ISBN 1870076109.
Collection
Accession Number
C.1946-1910

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record createdJuly 24, 1998
Record URL