Tobacco became became fashionable in China during the 17th century in the same way it had done so in Europe. Traders from Portugal introduced tobacco from America to China - via their trading post in Macau. In China and Europe, the consumption of snuff was seen as a status symbol as it was used by the ruling classes.

blog.php-672 Painted snuff bottle made of ivory, H: 7.7 cm, Japan 19th century

blog.php-677 Snuff bottle carved quartz, H: 3 cm, 19th century

blog.php-675 Snuff bottle, carved ivory, H: 6,7 cm, 19th century

blog.php-674 Snuff bottle made with casing glass, H: 7.6 cm, Japan 20th century

blog.php-673 Snuff bottle with casing glass, H: 6,7 cm, 19th century

In Europe, tobacco was mostly kept in boxes, whereas in China, it was traditional to store snuff in tiny vials. These bottles were were often intricately designed and decorated. Materials used for the bottles included: porcelain, ivory, lacquer, jade, quartz, agate, chalcedony, plastic resins and glass. For glass bottles an overlay technique was used, whilst other bottles were either carved or painted.

Snuff bottle made with casing glass, H: 7.6 cm, Japan 20th century Snuff bottle made with casing glass, H: 7.6 cm, Japan 20th century

Some bottles were clearly influenced by Western traditions, such as this example, which depicts the Virgin Mary with Jesus.

Snuff bottle from casing glass, H: 6.5 cm, 19th century Snuff bottle from casing glass, H: 6.5 cm, 19th century

Snuff bottle, carved jade, H: 6,1 cm, 20th century Snuff bottle, carved jade, H: 6,1 cm, 20th century

Snuff bottle, carved agate, H: 8.3 cm, 19th century Snuff bottle, carved agate, H: 8.3 cm, 19th century

Painted and carved snuff bottle, H: 8.4 cm, 19th century Painted and carved snuff bottle, H: 8.4 cm, 19th century

Snuff bottle, carved quartz with bird motif, H: 6.5 cm, 19th century Snuff bottle, carved quartz with bird motif, H: 6.5 cm, 19th century

Snuff bottle, carved chalcedony, H: 6.6 cm, 19th century Snuff bottle, carved chalcedony, H: 6.6 cm, 19th century

What excites snuff bottle collectors the most is their small size as well as their variety of patterns, shapes and colors.

Bidding runs from now until September 20. At 4pm CET on 20 the online live auction will take place.

Check out the full catalog here.

 

Comment