ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Chinese Snuff Bottles - Beautiful Miniature Art

Updated on February 10, 2009

Snuff Bottles as Art and Gifts

Snuff bottles have long history for the Chinese. While they began as a practical bottle to carry snuff in, they eventually evolved into complex and beautiful works of art to convey taste, style, and status. This lens will introduce you to Chinese snuff bottles as well as show you a few places where you can buy snuff bottles today.

Original Image

First of all, what is snuff? Snuff is a form of powdered tobacco that is typically inhaled through the nose. Tobacco was introduced to China by the Europeans, and the popularity of snuff bottles rose and fell with the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). During this time, snuff was almost considered medicinal, capable of curing many small illnesses, so it was conveniently carried around in these small bottles.

The use of snuff was originally confined to the upper class but eventually became a staple for all social classes. At this point, of course, the upper class had to somehow distinguish themselves and began to seek out the most beautiful, the most elegant, and the most unique snuff bottles.

A variety of snuff bottles exist today from the very affordable, mass-produced souvenir-type to complex, delicately decorated bottles that appeal to collectors. Snuff bottles have been made with porcelain, stone, wood, jade, ivory, and more, though the most popular material is glass. In addition to landscapes, it's possible to find many different motif designs on snuff bottles. Some examples are dragons, animals, women, and Chinese characters.

Learn more about snuff bottles at Wikipedia.

Original Image

Books About Snuff Bottles

Chinese Snuff Bottles: A Guide to Addictive Miniatures
Chinese Snuff Bottles: A Guide to Addictive Miniatures

This book clearly explains the history of snuff and its specialized bottles from the 17th century to the present in America, Europe, and China. For the novice, it provides fascinating background and descriptive information, and for the established collector it showcases over 650 diverse snuff bottles to study and admire through excellent color photographs.

 
Chinese Snuff Bottles (Images of Asia)
Chinese Snuff Bottles (Images of Asia)

Illustrated with twenty-four full-color and sixteen black-and-white plates, this book serves as a useful and entertaining introduction to the collecting of snuff bottles. After tracing the history of snuff in Chinese culture, Robert Kleiner surveys the many styles of snuff bottles, dividing them by materials and methods of decoration used.

 

Vintage Snuff Bottles on eBay

If you're looking for vintage snuff bottles, eBay is the place to start looking. At any given time, you can find dozens of beautiful snuff bottles made in many different styles and materials at reasonable prices.


Buy this snuff bottle from Good Orient.

Inside painted snuff bottles are quite a feat, especially back in the early 1800s, when the first inside painted snuff bottles were made. Not only was there tremendous skill and patience required to paint intricate designs on the interior of the snuff bottle, there also required a level of materials science and materials processing knowledge to make the glass transparent without impurities!

It has been told often that the origin of the inside painted snuff bottles came about by accident. In the Qing Dynasty, an official stopping at a temple found his snuff bottle empty, and thus, he decided to use a thin stick to scrape off the snuff gathered on the walls of the snuff bottle. This left lines that could be seen through his crystal snuff bottle. Later, a monk found his discarded snuff bottle, and the idea of the inside painted snuff bottle was born.

Today, inside painted snuff bottles are still made and are very popular among collectors. Take a close look at one and you'll notice that eyelashes and black lines must be painted in before the rest of the color is painted. Also, calligraphy must be written in reverse!

Popular Motifs on Snuff Bottles

Intricate designs on snuff bottles

Designs on snuff bottles are limitless, and you can find virtually any design you can think of. However, there are a few more traditional art subjects that adorn many snuff bottles. Below are just a small sampling of snuff bottle designs. Click on any snuff bottle below to purchase from Good Orient.


$30.98 / $40.98


$16.98 / $27.98 / $16.98


$90.98 / $19.98 / $19.98


$40.98 / $19.98 / $19.98


$16.98 / $19.98 / $19.98

Snuff Bottles on Amazon

While the selection is much smaller, it is possible to find snuff bottles on Amazon. I especially like the snuff bottles that come with their own display case. These snuff bottles are great as a classy gift.


Take a look at the picture above, and you'll find snuff bottles made from many different materials. Can you identify jade, wood, porcelain, stone, glass, ivory, lacquer, amber, and more? Image used here under Creative Common licensing. Original Image

What do you think about snuff bottles? Are they not beautiful pieces of miniature art? Leave a message here! Also, you can rate this lens at The Isle of Squid or even submit your own lens there.

Thanks for visiting this page! If you liked it, please take some time give props to this page by giving this lens a star rating at the top of the page. If you aren't a Squidoo member, you'll have to join Squidoo before you can rate. Thanks again and leave me if note, if you'd like.

Are you a fan of snuff bottles?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I have just brought a snuff bottle I think it is wooden with round top in the middle of the bottle it has ox bone I think with a picture of a family painted on it and the other side it has symbols on it

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I had a beautiful ivory snuff bottle years ago but gave it to a friend when I moved to another city. Hope she is enjoying it now. Loved your collection of snuff bottles. They truly are beautiful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Visti www.snuffbottlecollector.com for a wealth of information!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      We see a lot of these Chinese snuff bottles come through our shop. They are really quite lovely. I particularly like the carved ones. Blessed.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Thank you for this interesting reading! Bless by a squidoo angel!

    • profile image

      Glyphman 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens.. Rolled ya !

      Hey.. I am searching for a couple from Vancouver Canada that travel to and purchase inside painted bottles for resale in the States.

      I thought they use to have a online club that they sold from.

      Know them ??

    • mich1908 profile image

      mich1908 

      7 years ago

      I have seen snuff bottles but only knew now that they are used to contain powdered tobacco. I always like antique items with beautiful paintings.

    • profile image

      drinkless 

      7 years ago

      Great lens...I have only just discovered these beautiful pieces and am now considering collecting them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      Very nice lens. Gave you 5 stars and added you to my group. Keep up the good work!

    • profile image

      ChristiannaGarrett-Martin 

      9 years ago

      These are cool! Great pics too :)

      Christianna.

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 

      9 years ago

      I had never heard of these snuff bottles before, but they do look beautiful. Quite the unique gift idea.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)