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Snuff Bottle and Stopper with Spoon

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1885M1849
Collection:Applied Art - Asian
Date:1780 - 1800


This 18th century snuff bottle is made of opaque glass with motifs that include bats, which are an emblem of good fortune, chrysanthemums a symbol of autumn and joviality, and the sacred fungi.Tobacco was introduced into China from Europe in the late 16th century and was smoked in a pipe. The use of snuff, tobacco that has been ground to a fine powder and scented with essential oils, came later after the establishment of the Qing Dynasty in 1644. At that time, smoking tobacco was forbidden but the use of snuff, which was sniffed, rather than smoked, was acceptable. This was because the Chinese valued snuff for its medicinal qualities. It was considered as an effective remedy for colds, headaches, and many other illnesses, the powdered tobacco was dispensed in a bottle, as were most other medicines in China.

Purchased, 1883.

Further Information

Production Period:18th Century
Medium:Cameo glass with ivory, silk thread and brass.
Place of Origin:China


Height:8.9 cm