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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1895 (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 in China (most snuff users were men) generally carried their snuff in a small bottle. Snuff bottles were made in and from a variety of shapes and materials. 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 wide short cylindrical neck. The stopper is dome-shaped with a rim and made of red, black and yellow jasper.
The bottle is made of chalcedony, pale grey with dark brown inclusions.
The stone is carved using a 'silhouette' technique so that the dark brown inclusion form the shape of a tree with perhaps a cloud above.
The low curved foot has an indentation underneath.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1800-1895 (made)




Height: 5.6 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



ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories


East Asia Collection

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