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Snuff bottle

Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1850-1909 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Malachite composite with a stopper of amethyst

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 30

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 ovoid form, narrowing towards the base, the shoulders sloping up to a long wide cylindrical neck. It has a flattish stopper.
The bottle is a made of a malachite composite, green in a black ground; the stopper of amethyst.
The base is flat and oval and there is no foot.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1850-1909 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Malachite composite with a stopper of amethyst


Height: 5.8 cm bottle only

Descriptive line

Chinese snuff bottle, malachite composite and amethyst, flattened ovoid form, Qing Dynasty; 1850-1909.

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.

Production Note

The stone used suggests a date after 1850.


Malachite (mineral); Amethyst


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories


East Asia Collection

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