Snuff Bottles

Snuff bottles are often an exquisite and intricate piece of miniature art and may be made from many and varied forms of material to include, ivory, hard stones, glass and ceramic . When snuff was first introduced into Asia, around the middle of the 16 th century (reaching China towards the end of the 16 th century), it was carried in metal or wooden boxes which were totally unsuitable for the humid conditions of southern China. Here they developed the practice of using medical jars and containers. This was refined further in the late 17 th century to produce a special snuff bottle.

During the three early reigns of the Qing Dynasty a pinnacle of artistic design was reached, mainly due to the 30 workshops that were established inside the Forbidden City of Peking by the Emperor Kangxi in 1680. Their task was to produce scroll paintings, silk screens porcelain, enamel painting, jade and ivory carving and snuff bottles for the Emperor and his court. Outside the confines of the palace there were many private workshops for the nobles and wealthy crafting similar objects. These Imperial workshops were greatly curtailed after the accession of The Emperor Jiaqing in 1796. Undoubtedly the snuff bottles from such places would have been of exceptional quality.