Snuff bottle with yin-yang symbol and bird, Qing dynasty (1644-1912)

Unknown artist, expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

Snuff is powdered tobacco, which users inhale up their noses. It was introduced to China from Europe in the early 1700s and became widely popular. Storage bottles, often with stoppers ending with spoons to extract the snuff within, soon caught on throughout Chinese society. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet often incredibly ornate, Chinese snuff bottles can be marvels of artistic skill. As demonstrated by this group of examples, many bottles are made from materials such as ivory, coral, porcelain, or semiprecious stones. Many designs were original and compelling, but some draw upon familiar imagery from other—and much larger-scale—genres of art, like painting.

Snuff bottle with yin-yang symbol and bird
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