Snuff bottle

1750-1909 (made)


Height: 7.6 cm bottle only

C.1851-1910 EAS

Chinese snuff bottle, quartz and tourmaline, decoration depicts a pair of birds, Qing Dynasty; 1750-1909.

The bottle is a tall slightly flattened flask form narrowing slightly towards the base and with shoulders curving to a short splayed cylindrical neck. It has a gradated stopper with a finial. The bottle is made of quartz, semi-transparent grey, with black needle-like inclusions of tourmaline; the stopper of transparent densely tourmalinised quartz. The decoration depicts a pair of birds, which may be ducks, and perhaps a deer beneath a pine tree. The bottle has an indentation underneath and no foot. The carved decoration is obscured by the natural colour of the stone.

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.

Salting Bequest

Location: In Storage

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