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Snuff bottle

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1796-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain, with decoration painted in underglaze blue

  • Credit Line:

    Transferred from the Museum of Practical Geology, Jermyn Street

  • 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 no stopper.
It is made of porcelain, painted in underglaze blue.
The decoration consists of a wide band of lotus flowers and foliage around the middle. There is a panelled border, perhaps of stylized lotus petals around the base and a border of lappets around the shoulder. Three bats are depcited on the neck of the bottle and there is a pale blue line above the foot and beneath the neck-rim.
The foot curves inwards and there is an indentation underneath containing a four-character Yongzheng (1723-35) mark in blue regular script.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1796-1850 (made)


Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain, with decoration painted in underglaze blue

Marks and inscriptions

four-character Yongzheng


Height: 7.5 cm

Descriptive line

Chinese snuff bottle, 1796-1850, Qing dynasty; porcelain with painted decoration depicting stylized lotus petals.

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

This bottle was acquired from the Museum of Practical Geology, which acquired little non-mineral material after 1880.




Painting (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Lotus; Leaf; Bat (animal)


Containers; Personal accessories; Ceramics

Collection code


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