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Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1796-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain, with decoration painted in underglaze blue

  • Credit Line:

    Burman 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 cylindrical form with convex sides and a short receding neck with a splayed neck-rim. It does noy have a stopper.
It is made of porcelain, with decoration painted in underglaze blue.
The decoration depicts a dragon boat race and there is a partial debased spearhead border and dots around the neck.
The receding foot, unglazed at the edge, has a glazed indentation underneath with a Yongzheng (1723-35) mark in blue regular script.
A miniature bottle of the sort often adapted for use as snuff bottles.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1796-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain, with decoration painted in underglaze blue

Marks and inscriptions

six-character Yongzheng


Height: 8.5 cm

Descriptive line

Chinese snuff bottle, 1796-1850, Qing dynasty; porcelain, with painted decoration depicting a dragon boat race.

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.




Painting (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Dragon boat; Wave; Man


ELISE; Containers; Personal accessories; Ceramics


East Asia Collection

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