Snuffbottle - ROM2005_3761_1



Maker: Yan Yutian
Medium:Moud-blown glass carved and painted
Geography: China
Date: c. 1895
Period: Qing Dynasty
7 x 6 cm
Object number: 978.238.20
Credit Line: Bequest of Mrs. Dorothy P. Munro
On view
Gallery Location:Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art

This small bottle was used for storing snuff, a finely ground tobacco inhaled through the nose. While there are accounts of smoking tobacco in China from the early 17th century, there is no official record of snuff until 1684, when it was among gifts presented to the Kangxi emperor by European missionaries. The habit of snuff taking immediately became popular at court and miniature decorative bottles were specially designed to hold small quantities. As the practice spread beyond the court, the demand for snuff bottles grew, fashioned from almost any material that could be formed in the shape of a bottle.

The technique of painting the interiors of glass or rock-crystal bottles began in the early 19th century. Most of these bottles date from the founding of the Beijing school of artists in the late 1870s. Unlike bottles in other materials left unsigned by the artisan who made them, interior painted bottles were often signed by the artist.

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