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snuff-bottle

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF.813

  • Description

    Glass snuff-bottle of double gourd form with short neck and flat base. The snuff-bottle is milky-white opaque glass. There is a gourd-vine and red bats in mixed enamel on the body, and a band of yellow spotted with red from which hangs a border of pendant leaves in enamel around the neck. The snuff bottle contains remnants of snuff.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1736-1795
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 4.8 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        on base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        乾隆年製
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Qianlong nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Qianlong reign
      • Inscription Comment

        Four-character Qianlong mark in blue enamel on the base
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Qing Qianlong 1736-1795Room 95 label text:

    PDF 813

    Painted glass gourd-shaped snuff-bottle


    Jesuit missionaries residing within the Forbidden City brought with them Western technologies such as enamelling glass and introduced Western habits such as sniffing snuff (powdered tobacco flavoured with aromatic substances). By the reign of the emperor Kangxi (AD 1662–1722), taking snuff had become an imperial habit. Chinese craftsmen revelled in the production of miniature works of art and the tiny snuff-bottle form provided a means to demonstrate their skills. This bottle is painted with auspicious gourds and five red bats, representing five vast blessings. Attached to the glass bottle’s pearl and coral cover is an ivory spoon which scoops out a pinch of snuff at a time.


    Glass with enamels, coral, pearl and ivory
    Forbidden City, Beijing 北京故宮
    Qing dynasty, Qianlong blue enamel mark and period, AD1736–95

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  • Bibliography

    • Lady David 1973 p.11, no.813 bibliographic details
    • Krahl & Harrison-Hall 2009 p.17, Fig.9 bibliographic details
    • Scott 1991 p.21, no.813 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G95/case33/sh7

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    3 April 2009

    Treatment proposal

    Reattach lid

    Condition

    Light surface dirt. Top pearl/button is loose from the cork stopper.

    Treatment details

    Working under a microscope, the cork was removed with tweezers. Reddish substance inside the bottle. The cork has an applicator, possibly ivory? Reattached the pearl/button back onto the cork with 50% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in 50:50 Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone) : Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol, methanol) applied with a brush. Surface cleaned the outside of the bottle with a 50:50 solution of de-ionised water and Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol, methanol) applied on cotton wool swabs and dried with a paper towel.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF.813

Fine white porcelain Snuff-bottle of double gourd form with two small loop handles on the shoulders. Decorated with gourd vines in enamel colours on a gold brocade ground, and fitted with a gilt filigree metal stopper with an ivory spoon attached.

Fine white porcelain Snuff-bottle of double gourd form with two small loop handles on the shoulders. Decorated with gourd vines in enamel colours on a gold brocade ground, and fitted with a gilt filigree metal stopper with an ivory spoon attached.

Image description

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Object reference number: RRC39145

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