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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1895 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved agate with a stopper of carnelian and coloured glass

  • 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 an oblong flattened flask form with sloping shoulders. It has a two-part dome-shaped stopper.
It is made of agate, pale yellow with a stopper of carnelian and yellow glass.
The foot is high and straight.
The decorative interest lies in the elegant shape and pure colour of the bottle.
The shape suggests a nineteenth-century date.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1800-1895 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved agate with a stopper of carnelian and coloured glass


Height: 5.5 cm

Descriptive line

Scu, China, carving, agate

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.


Agate; Glass; Carnelian




ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories


East Asia Collection

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