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Chinese Snuff Bottles

Chinese snuff bottles, only a couple inches in height, are pieces of art that once held powdered tobacco as a remedy for headaches, stomachaches, and other ailments. These small bottles can be made from glass, jade, ivory, ceramic, and metal, among other materials. The more intricately and beautifully decorated the bottle, the higher status or rank of the owner in historical China.

Due to the humid climate of China, snuff would normally stick together and become a solid block in a container that was not fully sealed. Realizing this, Emperor Kangxi commissioned the creation of beautifully hand-decorated medicine bottles with well-fitted lids during the Qing Dynasty. Since then, the popularity of these snuff bottles grew and snuff bottles became synonymous with aristocracy.


Quick Facts

  • Influenced by the Jesuit society, the Chinese made many beautiful glass snuff bottles, but later opted for more durable materials like jade or coral since glass tended to shatter during the bitter-cold winters
  • Since the 1920s, snuff has not been in use. Despite this, Chinese snuff bottles continue to be in production and are common collector's items to be proudly displayed
  • During the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods, the Jesuits taught Chinese artisans to enamel on metal or glass. These snuff bottles thus had very Western themes, and are today very rare and sought after

Recommended Items at Auction

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11 Chinese Snuff Bottles
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
11 Chinese Snuff Bottles
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $400
$755 Bids
Four Chinese Hardstone Snuff Bottles
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
Four Chinese Hardstone Snuff Bottles
by Neue Auctions
Est: $75- $150
$704 Bids
Box Chinese Snuff Bottles Etc
Mar 01, 12:00 PM PST
Box Chinese Snuff Bottles Etc
by District Auction
Est: $0- $0
$204 Bids
Inside Painted Glass Snuff Bottles Jade Stoppers (4)
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Inside Painted Glass Snuff Bottles Jade Stoppers (4)
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $400
$453 Bids
STONE STUDDED SNUFF BOTTLE ON CHAIN
Feb 26, 1:00 PM CST
STONE STUDDED SNUFF BOTTLE ON CHAIN
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$73 Bids
Antique Qing Dynasty Carved Snuff Bottle
Mar 03, 10:00 AM MST
Antique Qing Dynasty Carved Snuff Bottle
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$603 Bids
10pc Porcelain Snuff Bottle Collection
Mar 03, 10:00 AM MST
10pc Porcelain Snuff Bottle Collection
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$1203 Bids
A CHINESE CARVED JADEITE SNUFF BOTTLE WITH COVER
Mar 03, 9:30 AM EST
A CHINESE CARVED JADEITE SNUFF BOTTLE WITH COVER
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $700- $900
$2252 Bids
Chinese rhinocerous horn snuff bottle, 19thC
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese rhinocerous horn snuff bottle, 19thC
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €300- €400
€2252 Bids
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TWO CHINESE REVERSE PAINTED SNUFF BOTTLES
Feb 29, 9:00 AM AEST
TWO CHINESE REVERSE PAINTED SNUFF BOTTLES
by Albion Antique Auction Centre
Est: AUD10- AUD40
AUD152 Bids
Chinese porcelain 'Dragon' snuff bottle, Daoguang
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese porcelain 'Dragon' snuff bottle, Daoguang
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €300- €400
€2002 Bids
Chinese mother-of-pearl 'lovebirds' snuff bottle, 20thC
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese mother-of-pearl 'lovebirds' snuff bottle, 20thC
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €180- €240
€1201 Bid
Chinese ivory snuff bottle, 19th/20th century
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese ivory snuff bottle, 19th/20th century
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €180- €240
€1201 Bid
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A FINE GLASS MADE SNUFF BOTTLE
Mar 03, 11:00 AM EST
A FINE GLASS MADE SNUFF BOTTLE
by William's Auctions, LLC
Est: $40- $60
$201 Bid
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PAIR OF FINELY PAINTED PORCELAIN SNUFF BOTTLE
Mar 03, 11:00 AM EST
PAIR OF FINELY PAINTED PORCELAIN SNUFF BOTTLE
by William's Auctions, LLC
Est: $80- $120
$401 Bid
Chinese ivory snuff bottle, 19thC
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese ivory snuff bottle, 19thC
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €270- €360
€1801 Bid
Chinese ivory figural snuff bottle, Minguo
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese ivory figural snuff bottle, Minguo
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €270- €360
€1801 Bid
Chinese 'flower and butterflies' ivory snuff bottle, Minguo
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese 'flower and butterflies' ivory snuff bottle, Minguo
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €225- €300
€1501 Bid
Antique Chinese Rose Quartz and Bronze Snuff Bottle
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
Antique Chinese Rose Quartz and Bronze Snuff Bottle
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $100- $1,000
$501 Bid
Antique Chinese Amethyst Quartz and Bronze Snuff Bottle
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
Antique Chinese Amethyst Quartz and Bronze Snuff Bottle
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $100- $1,000
$501 Bid
Chinese lacqueur snuff bottle, 20th century
Mar 01, 4:00 PM WET
Chinese lacqueur snuff bottle, 20th century
by Marques dos Santos
Est: €75- €100
€501 Bid
Vintage Carved Onyx Chinese Snuff Bottle
Mar 03, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Carved Onyx Chinese Snuff Bottle
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Vintage Internal Painted Chinese Snuff Bottle
Mar 03, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Internal Painted Chinese Snuff Bottle
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Snuff Bottles


Marques dos Santos

Marques dos Santos

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Jade Auction House

Jade Auction House

William's Auctions, LLC

William's Auctions, LLC