Snuff bottle - ROM2014_14198_41


Snuff bottle

Geography: China
Date: 1750 - 1900 AD
Period: Qing Dynasty
5.8 x 5.6 cm
Object number: 983.135.38
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Dorothy Hoover
Not on view
DescriptionThis 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. "Bamboo roots are prepared by the people of Jiading (in Sichuan province). They generally take a piece with two joints close together so as to utilize the natural empty space between them, carving the exterior into a suitable shape. The substance is in good taste but if it is not properly cared for, it develops cracks." Zhou Jixu (dates unknown), collector, snuff taker and scholar, 1893
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