In the early Republic of China, Zhao Ruzhen wrote in “Appreciation Snuff Bottles” that: “antique identification, there are two points, one is to identify the authenticity of identification; one is its advantages and disadvantages. To determine the authenticity of identification, and then their advantages and disadvantages, this is a routine procedure for device identification. But the identification of snuff bottles, the situation is different, only the identification of quality discriminator is enough, do not have to verify its authenticity. Because of the rare degree of snuff bottles, the material’s superiority,painting and workmanship absolutely decide the good or bad,  but irrespective of age and the master. If the material is rare, workmanship is ingeniously constructed, whenever and whoever, made the snuff bottles, they are the top grade. On the contrary, work in general, ordinary materials, even emperor Kangxi and Yong Zheng created, and used by the emperor, the snuff bottles are worthless.

Snuff bottle collection must have financial resources, experience and learning to read, can’t be impatient. We should pay attention to the quality not quantity, not choose at random. It should also be noted the material, color and integrity of snuff bottles. Although the material is more expensive of jade, bronze tire type, but we must judge by comprehensive conditions.

The purchase of snuff bottles should pay attention to the following points:

  1. Original

The snuff bottle lid and a connecting cork spoon must be the original.

  1. Color

The color of snuff bottles must be fresh.

  1. Complete

The snuff bottles must be intact, no chipping crack and no fade.

  1. Painting

The snuff bottle painting should be fine and artistry, clean, no made sense.

  1. The inner side of the snuff bottles

The outside of the snuff bottles should be shine and snuff, high transparency, have no sand and wind pattern.

  1. Modelling

Choose the snuff bottles with pleasing to the eye, beautiful and  well-balanced shape. People analogy above both sides of the snuff bottles “beauty’s shoulders”, must have beautiful lines, have charm.

  1. Carver

The snuff bottle carver is meticulous and beautiful.

Identification Tips

Duo to there are a lot of snuff bottle materials, glass, porcelain, jade, metal, gemstone and so on, generally a connoisseur has study on one kind of material snuff bottles. So we should identificate snuff bottles one by one.


Glassware is today’s glass material. The glass itself is not expensive, so the work of glass snuff bottles is important. The most wonderful work is”Gu Yue Xuan Cai”, followed by the western production of five-colored glass. The white glass as crystal, red as fire, yellow as steamed chestnut, blue as gemstone, green as jade, which is rare.

In the Qing Dynasty Beijing palace burned glass snuff bottles, known as official glass snuff bottles. During reign of Kangxi, the glassware was very exquisite, they imitated natural ores or semi precious stones, color almost lifelike. The official glassware also imitated agate, amber, jade and white jade, texture moist, shining. Gu Yue Xuan glassware was produced most during Qianlong period. There was also some during Kangxi and Yong Zheng period, but fewer. It’s disappeared in Jiaqing later. The key to identify the Gu Yue Xuan snuff bottle is: Gu Yue Xuan is stacking glassware style (words with enamel writing, firing bulge). In addition, it must apply the enamel glaze and enamel. There is fetal enamel in glassware of the Qing Dynasty, which is painted enamel glaze on the glass and roasting. The Qing Dynasty glassware painted enamel, is Qian Long’s specialty, most small flat and circular body. Usually painted different flower patterns, some writes with auspicious words, but seldom painted landscapes.The flower pattern is in a slim complex for the top grade, the color should be fresh and have level, can not scratch or peel. During Qianlong period, the snuff botlles has four word inscription, with a blue book font, very neat, imitation is difficult to achieve.

Identification of porcelain snuff bottles

Porcelain snuff bottles are most, from the Qing Dynasty to Kangxi Dynasty, until the end of the Qing Dynasty, the emperor all manufactured porcelain snuff bottles, but Kangxi, Yong Zheng and Qianlong three dynasties were the best. During Kangxi period, the first firing is the blue and white porcelain snuff bottles, with the asbolite, bright color, little current deposit. During Yong Zheng period, blue glaze kiln snuff bottles were fetal fine glaze fresh, the burning of blue and white pulp fetal snuff bottle is more creative, which is thin carcass. During Qianlong period, the focus on the strong sense of three-dimensional enamel snuff bottles, cover the blue and white achievement. During Jia Qing period, the blue and white snuff bottle’s output is not big, with the odd blue and white glaze is expensive, but not so good as carved snuff bottles ht. During Daoguang period, snuff bottles were mostly kilns fired porcelain snuff bottles, the quantity is large, most have no hedging effect. A lot of blue and white snuff bottles’ color floating, uneven thickness, and the matrix and is not tight. There are no hedge kilns snuff bottles. From Jiaqing to Xianfeng, Guangxu period, the snuff bottles’ modelling, patterns and themes are copied early dynasties, creative is not much.

Identification of jade snuff bottles

Jade snuff bottles mainly depends on “material”. Fake jade snuff bottles are made of glass and pine fragrance stones, lack of a sense of weight, less bright of color, poor of the transparency, so there is no “aura”. In the case of glass material, the friction force on the surface, it will be found that the bottle body fluff. Green jadeite snuff bottle is the most expensive “Emerald” is dark green and texture of jadeite jade. Followed by the ” spinach green “, the color is slightly yellow and green. “Spinach green, green like spinach”.

Identification of agate snuff bottles. To observe agate snuff bottles, the color of the imitated agate is often dyed bright, often colored red and other bright colors. Fake agate’s pattern is confused, like mixed paint, but too smooth and bright. False agate’s hardness is different, has a lot of impurities and defects. One fake agate is put into the furnace burning with high temperature, the “red” agate called ” braised agate”.

Identification of amber snuff bottles

To observe whether the texture is dense, soft texture is easily affected by the knife engraved, mostly fake amber. On the market, there are amber snuff bottles contained veneer insects, which is a man-made amber; even there are some tiny animals inside, mostly missing head or foot.

Identification of tourmaline snuff bottles

The tourmaline snuff bottle mainly depends on texture, tourmaline’s ribbon changes a lot. There are vertical lines on the surface, top grade, the color of the inside bottle is uniform, less “cotton willow” shaped body, high transparent. Some tourmaline snuff bottles containing mist shape, color is not fresh or bright, uniform, inferior, belong to the inferior. The Empress Dowager Cixi of Qing Dynasty favorite tourmaline, which is popular for a short time, the price is increasing. After the death of the empress dowager, tourmaline’s identity plummeted.