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HOME : Chinese Art : Snuff Bottles : Inside Painted Snuff Bottle
Inside Painted Snuff Bottle - ES.6715
Origin: China
Circa: 1709 AD to 1722 AD
Dimensions: 3.9" (9.9cm) high x 2.2" (5.6cm) wide

Location: Great Britain
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The first chinese character on the top left on the bottom of the bottle means “Made for Yongzheng”. This character is present only on few bottles because of its imporance: those pieces were the ones selected for Emperor Yongzheng (reigned 1709-1722) for their extraordinary artistic quality, representing the very best of craftmanship. One of the lateral inscription reads “the rhythm of Autumn”, while the other is the signature of the famous artist Ding Erzhong.

The story of Chinese snuff bottles stems from a curious and interesting cultural development occurred during the last years of the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644). In 1639, Emperor Chongzhen (who reigned as the 17th and last Ming Emperor from 1627 to 1644) issued a national ban against smoking tobacco and stipulated that tobacco addicts faced death penalty. In 1673, Qing Dynasty Emperor Kangxi expanded the death penalty even to those who simply possessed smoking tobacco.

Curiously enough, possession and use of snuff (powdered tobacco, sometimes mixed with herbs and spices) was considered exempt from these prohibitions, as the Chinese considered snuff to be a medicine rather than an addictive substance, a remedy for common illnesses such as colds, headaches and stomach upsets. Snuff became immensely popular and was carried around (much like other medicines) in a small bottle. The stopper usually had a very small spoon attached for handily extracting a dose of snuff for inhalation. - (ES.6715)


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