Snuff Bottles China. Qing dynasty

Snuff Bottles: China. Qing dynasty. Glass, porcelain, nephrite, agate, quartz, rock, crystal, amber, and silver

The Chinese snuff bottle represents a cultural reaction to a foreign influence involving an imported substance. The Chinese craftsmen have exploited the nature of their materials and the bottles embody many forms of traditional art and craft in miniature. With the downfall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, the habit of taking snuff gradually vanished.

Tobacco was introduced to China in the 17th century, possibly by Jesuit missionaries. Originally considered as medicine for curing nasal congestion, snuff taking became fashionable at the Qing court and spread among the upper classes. The earliest known snuff bottles were made of brass, developed from traditional Chinese medicine bottles. Glass bottles soon followed and then jade, stone, porcelain and practically any suitable material.

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