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Snuff Bottle with Stopper and Spoon

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1927M163
Collection:Applied Art - Asian
Date:1780 - 1800


This 18th century Chinese snuff bottle made of a milky glass is decorated with flowers, including chrysanthemums, and multicoloured butterflies. In Chinese art chrysanthemums represent autumn and butterflies symbolise cupid.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 in memory of Sir Whitworth Wallis, the first Director of the Museum, 1927.

Further Information

Production Period:18th Century
Medium:Multicoloured cameo glass with ivory and cork.
Place of Origin:China


Height:6 cm