Snuff bottles made of crystal or glass, are painted on the inside using a narrow sliver of bamboo or brush, and ink and colour. They were not, therefore, made to be used to carry snuff and are considered a separate entity in collectors' eyes from the more usual utilitarian bottle.
Snuff bottles were used by the Chinese, Mongolians during the Qing Dynasty to contain powdered tobacco. Smoking tobacco was illegal during the Qing Dynasty, but the use of snuff was allowed because the Chinese considered snuff to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds, headaches and stomach disorders. Therefore, snuff was carried in a small bottle like other medicines. The snuff bottle replaced the snuff box used by Europeans.
Many bottles are completely devoid of decoration, others are incredibly ornate. As in all Chinese arts and crafts, motifs and symbols play an important part in decorative detail. Symbols are derived from a multitude of sources such as legends, history, religion, philosophy and superstition. The ideas used are almost always directed toward bringing wealth, health, good luck, longevity, even immortality to the owner of an artifact, frequently as a wish expressed in a kind of coded form by the giver of a gift.
Without doubt, the class of bottle that arouses most interest in the non-collector is that known as inside painted. These are glass bottles which have pictures and often calligraphy painted on the inside surface of the glass.
These delightful scenes are only an inch or two high and are painted while manipulating the brush through the neck of the bottle maybe only a quarter inch across, and also painted in reverse. Ursula Bourne, in her treatise on snuff, suggests that artisans painted on their backs to make it easier to work through the narrow opening. It has been said that a skilled artist may complete a simple bottle in a week while something special may take a month or more and that the best craftsmen will produce only a few bottles in a year.
Price is for EACH Bottle and includes a FREE wood display stand
Snuff bottles: 3" tall x 2 5/8" wide x 5/8" deep
Shipping weight 1.5 lbs. each