Snuff bottle is a traditional handicraft, began in the Ming Dynasty, flourished in the Qing dynasty. Inside painted snuff bottles appared during the early daoguang and late Jiaqing reign. It is painted inside of the transparent bottle by a special tiny hook paint brushes. At first, the inner wall of the snuff bottle was not scrubbed, due to the smooth inner wall, it’s not easy to attach the ink and color. So only some simple graphics and patterns can be drawed, such as: grasshopper, cabbage, dragon, phoenix and some simple landscapes & figures.
Later, artists used iron sandand, emery and water to grind the inner surface of snuff bottles back and forth. So that the inner wall of the snuff bottle is milky white frosted glass, delicate and not smooth, which is easy to attach ink, the effect just likes the rice paper. The inside painted snuff bottles later appeared some of elaborate works, then they developed the art boutique just as poetry and painting.
After snuff came to China, at first, the Chinese use traditional medicine bottles to put it, on this basis, to use a variety of materials and production process to improve the snuff containers. They found that this big belly and small mouth snuff bottles are more benefitted to store snuff during the process of using. The snuff bottles ensure long-term use of snuff not degenerate, and easy to carry. The style has the chinese traditional beauty, so they are loved by snuff smokers. In Chinese Qing Dynasty, from the emperor to the common people, smelling snuff was very popular. Leading with the emperor, the feudal aristocracy were extremely extravagant, they often collected valuable materials to make snuff bottles, designed by skilled craftsmen for them. Some collectors in the world think that the snuff bottle is the miniature art of epitomizing Chinese atrs and crafts.
Inner Mongolia has most silver and metal craft snuff bottles; Liaoning is rich in agate, so more agate snuff bottles; Tibet also owns more metal snuff bottles.
There are many materials to make snuff bottles, gold, copper, silver, porcelain, jade, coral, agate, jade, crystal, amber, wood, bamboo root, petrified wood, lacquer, gourd, nutlet etc..
Chinese snuff bottles concentrate Chinese painting, calligraphy, sculpture, mosaic, jade, porcelain, glassware, lacquer, enamel, metal and other processes in the body, the snuff bottles self display odd postures and learn widely from others’ strong points.
The snuff bottles can be divided into metal, jade, organic compound, ceramics, glassware, inside painting and enamel snuff bottles.
Snuff is to incorporate musk, borneol, menthol and other rare medicinal herbs in high quality fine grinding tobacco. At the end, aging in a sealed wax pill in a few years or even decades. Smelling the cigarette plays a certain role on fatigue. The Qing Dynasty relics, holding a small, easy to carry. As a unique traditional crafts in China, the art of inside painting is originated in the snuff bottle. The inside painting is painted by a special deformed fine pens on glass, crystal, amber and other materials inner wall of the bottles. Hand drawed nuanced pictures, elegant style, exquisite.