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Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1796-1820 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Moulded and painted porcelain with a coloured glass stopper

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 14, shelf 7

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 with a flared neck and a dome-shaped stopper.
It is made of porcelain, painted in pink, blue, red, yellow and green, moulded as a perforated outer casing over an inner body. The stopper is made of green glass.
The moulded decoration depicts nine lions playing with brocaded balls. There are lappet borders around the shoulder and the base; a key-fret border around the neck and a line of dots around the neck-rim and foot.
The foot has a shallow curved indentation underneath.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1796-1820 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Moulded and painted porcelain with a coloured glass stopper

Marks and inscriptions

Poorly copied Jiaqing (1796-1820) mark in red seal characters.


Height: 6.6 cm bottle only

Descriptive line

Chinese snuff bottle, moulded porcelain, painted decoration depicts nine lions playing with brocaded balls, Qing Dynasty; 1796-1820.

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.


Porcelain; Glass



Subjects depicted

Key pattern; Lion; Balls (recreational artifacts)


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories; Ceramics


East Asia Collection

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