Chinese snuff bottles

Quite special and highly collectible are the Chinese snuff bottles. During the 17th century tobacco smoking was forbidden in China, thus stimulating snuff taking which was not mentioned in the anti-smoking law. A rage for the precious and nicely decorated bottle emerged.

Over the centuries the snuff bottle developed, introducing new forms and materials for each social layer. Most costly are the precious stones such as agate and jade. Given the Chinese craftsmanship even glass and ceramic bottles are pieces of art. Ivory and bone, wood, lacquer and celluloid were among the wide choice of materials used.

Each material has its own qualities that were used to the utmost to achieve the maximum of effect. The layered structure of agate for instance was exploited to highlight the raised decoration on the flask. Another stone could be polished to show its internal coloring, while the opal quartz was processed into a transparent design. Most remarkable are the glass bottles painted in the inside with a one-hair brush. These decorated flasks were resistant to the wear of usage and even transport.

Most of these small and luxurious bottles were never used, but even than highly sought after as a collector’s item to be shown in a cabinet. They were popular in the past but will be appreciated in the future, not to be used but as collector's items.

Beautiful carved snuff bottle with a sitting partridge, silver mounts at base and rim. China, 1850-1880 The carver of this snuff bottle used the layers in the stone to give the decoration extra expression. China, 1850-1880
A conglomerate of various types of stones shaped as an attractive snuff bottle. China, 1850-1900. Snuff bottle carved from a transparant rock crystal with a stout shape, the cover in two colors glass. China, 1850-1900.
Snuff bottle with oval shape on a separate wooden stand, the stopper in coral with metal rim. China, 1900-1920.
Snuff bottle with medallion shape the shoulders accentuated, agate with a malachite stopper. China, 1850-1900.
Two snuff bottles in white jade with colored lids, one with a gilt metal rim. China, 1850-1900.
Two snuff bottles in jade with the depiction in relief and a stopper in the same colorr. China, 1920-1950. Snuff bottle in greenish jade with a-symmetrical flower decoration carved in relief, stopper of the same material and color. China, 1900-1940.
Large size snuff bottle in porcelain with a painted decoration of a sitting buddha. China, 1870-1900. Large size snuff bottle in porcelain with a man and child riding a donkey. China, 1870-1900.
Snuff bottle with a strongly flattened shape in porcelain with the painting of the American arms. China, 1870-1900.
Simple porcelain snuff bottle with a hand painted decoration in blue underglaze. China, 1850-1900.
Simple rectangular porcelain snuff bottle with handpainted a child in the meadow. China, 1850-1900.
On the flattened porcelain snuff bottle two figures in blue underglaze. China, 1850-1900.
Figural snuff bottle in ceramic shaped like a leaf with flowers not yet in bloom and painted in natural colors. China, 1920-1940. Two snuff bottles in in monochrome colors with matching stoppers in stone in the same colors. China, 1850-1900.
Snuff bottles in glass on the inside painted in colors, the nature as subject, glass stoppers. China, 1880-1920. Snuff bottles in glass on the inside painted in colors, the nature as subject, glass stoppers. China, 1880-1920.
Pear shaped snuff bottle of transparent glass with the decoration of colored tears, jade stopper. China, 1870-1900.
Large snuff bottle  decorated from the inside with blooming branches with some birds in the twigs, the lid in constrasting color. China, 1880-1920. Large snuff bottle  decorated from the inside with blooming branches with in the front a crane, the lid in constrasting color. China, 1880-1920.
Beautiful snuff bottle in Peking glass, cast with a decoration in relief, the stopper in jade. China, 1850-1900.
Snuff bottles in black glass with rough inserts in gold, the stopper in jade with in the top a lapis lazuli. China, 1850-1880.
Pear shaped snuff bottle in glass with in contrasting color an elephant carrying a load. China, 1920-1940.
Special snuff bottle in dark colored glass with ornamental pattern, the stopper in green jade. China, 1900-1930.
Figural snuff bottle in Peking glass shaped like a fish, between the cheeks a green jade stopper. China, 1940-1960.
Snuff bottle in Chinese lacquer made in layers and carved, the bottle interior in brass. China, 1930-1950. Almost cilindrical snuff bottle in red lacquer with carved decoration, the stopper in the same technique showing a flower, China, 1900-1920.
Wooden snuff bottle covered with mother of pearl with engraved decoration, stopper in jade. China, 1900-1920.
Sober snuff bottle in celluloid without any decoration, stopper in jade. China, 1910-1930.
Beautiful snuff bottle in lacquer inlayed with a pattern with stilized flower in the center. China, 1900-1930.
Figural snuff bottle shaped like a fruit with relief decoration and stopper from the same material. China, 1940-1970. Beautiful calabash shaped snuff bottle in jade with carved decoration and jade stopper. China, 1930-1960.
Figural snuff bottle in amber shaped like the seabottom where a fish rises, in its mouth a stopper in coral. China, 1930-1960.
Series of bone snuff bottles shaped like fruits, the two pieces on the right engraved with coloured decorations. China, 1970-1990.
Snuff bottle made from a wallnut, the outside carved with various Chinese figures, the opening on the bottom. China, 1960-1990. Snuff bottle in wood shaped like a pumpkin, the stem is de stopper. China, 1960-1980.
Snuff set in ivory consisting of a small dish to serve the snuff, a funnel to fill the small bottles and a spoon shaped spatula to clean the bottles. China, 1900-1930.

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