Snuff Bottle thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery

Snuff Bottle

ca. 1700 (made)
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
Materials and Techniques
Porcelain, with decoration painted under a glaze
Brief Description
Chinese snuff bottle, ca. 1700, Qing dynasty; porcelain, with painted decoration depicting pine, prunus and bamboo.
Physical Description
The bottle is in the form of a garlic mouthed case with no stopper.

It is a made of porcelain, painted in dark blue under a paler blue glaze.

The decoration depicts pine, bamboo and prunus, with an insect.

The high splayed foot has a smaller rim underneath and a high curved indentation.

The pine, bamboo and prunus form a popular decorative motif 'Three Friends of Winter', since the pine and the bamboo are evergreen and the prunus blossoms very early.

This bottle has a cork and could have been made as a snuff bottle, although written evidence suggests that glass was the earliest material used for making snuff bottles. It is more likely that the bottle was adapted for snuff use sometime after its manufacture.
Dimensions
  • Height: 8.1cm
Style
Credit line
Boone 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
912-1903

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record createdSeptember 16, 1998
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