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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:1927M172
Collection:Applied Art - Asian
Date:1780 - 1800


This late 18th century snuff bottle from China is made of camphor glass and is decorated in relief. The design has a saddled pony on one side and an unharnessed pony on the other. Both sides are embellished with bats which are the Chinese symbol of happiness.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 by Lady Wallis in memory of Sir Whitworth Wallis, 1927.

Further Information

Production Period:18th Century
Medium:Cameo glass and ivory.
Place of Origin:China


Height:5.2 cm