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  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    early 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    [Snuff bottle] Porcelain, painted in underglaze blue and red
    [Stopper] Horn

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics Study Galleries, Asia & Europe, room 137, case 14, shelf 8

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 cylindrical form with shoulders sloping to a narrow neck and a flat stopper.
It is made of porcelain, painted in underglaze blue and red. The stopper is made of brown horn.
The decoration depicts an emperor or nobleman holding an audience.
There is no separate foot and an unglazed indentation underneath.
There is nothing about the bottle itself that suggests it was made specifically to hold snuff, but its horn stopper has a cork and ivory spoon attahced. it is impossible to tell when it became a snuf bottle.

Place of Origin

China (made)


early 19th century (made)


Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

[Snuff bottle] Porcelain, painted in underglaze blue and red
[Stopper] Horn


[Snuff bottle] Height: 10.5 cm

Descriptive line

Small bottle, porcelain painted in underglaze blue and red, Qing dynasty, early 19th century

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; Ivory; Horn


Glazing (coating)

Subjects depicted



Containers; Personal accessories; Ceramics; Porcelain

Collection code


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