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Snuff Bottles – China’s Historical Art and Culture 2020

| October 24, 2020 | 0 Comments
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Snuff bottles were used to store snuff. This display was inside the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore. Snuff was powdered tobacco mixed with a blend of aromatic substances. This was rumored to be a magical panacea for common ills, including the cold. It was taken by breathing in the fragrant aromas which were emitted after effervescence. Snuff consumption was a habit that quickly developed into an addiction. It was a manifestation of the class and the upper and ruling classes used it to show off their status and re-instate their place in the social hierarchy.

Snuff Bottles – China’s Historical Art and Culture

This practice started in the Qing dynasty, in the 18th century, in China. Due to its reputation of possessing medicinal properties, snuff consumption slowly propagated all over China. China’s weather is humid and the snuff had to be stored in small, portable containers.

Each bottle had its own miniature spoon to scoop out the measured portions of snuff. This tobacco can be placed on a snuff dish or in the palm and slowly enjoyed through breathing in via the nose.

Common flavors of snuff included spearmint, cinnamon, raspberry, orange, rose, menthol, camphor, whiskey, bourbon and tonka bean.

It was insufficient to boast that one smoked snuff. The snuff bottles gained attention when workmanship distinguished their price and uniqueness. The more intricate the design, the more valuable it became and the humble functional snuff bottle became the trophy of merit.

The rich showed off their wealth, status and power by owning exquisitely hand crafted snuff bottles. Precious materials like jade, porcelain, lacquer, amber, coral, hornbill, bamboo or other natural resources were used to make snuff bottles. There is literally no limit in the types of snuff bottles that can be designed. The snuff bottle is the average size of a bottle of prescription medicine from the doctor.

The snuff bottles gained attention when workmanship distinguished their price and uniqueness Culture.

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