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Snuff Bottle with Stopper and Spoon

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1927M155
Collection:Applied Art - Asian
Date:1890 - 1900

Maker Information

Attributed to:Kuan Yu-T'ien - View biography for Kuan Yu-T'ien


This 19th century snuff bottle from China has been made out of glass and has been 'inside painted'. The decoration has been painted on the inside of the glass with very small delicate brushes.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.

Presented in memory of Sir Whitworth Wallis, the first Director of the Museum, 1927.

Further Information

Production Period:19th Century
Medium:Glass with ivory, paint and cork.
Place of Origin:China


Height:6.5 cm