China Shopping Guide


The Chinese snuff bottles present an embodiment of many arts and crafts such as drawing, calligraphy, carving, inlaying, painting, which open up a new form of comprehensive arts and crafts, have become a miniature of prosperity and development of arts and crafts in ancient China. Its small, exquisite and diversified forms, varied decorations and rich content of its designs combine to form a unique image of art, producing magical charm.

snuff bottles
All Kinds of Snuff Bottles

The history of Chinese snuff bottles.
It is commonly believed that the snuff bottles were introduced into China by the western missionaries. The earliest reference of snuff bottles into China was dated 1684 in the Qing Dynasty. The missionaries greeted Emperor Kangxi and presented him snuff bottles.
However, the snuff bottles in China actually emerged far earlier than 1684. The snuff bottles were being made in great quantity by the Imperial Workshops in around 1700. The Chinese believed that snuff bottles contained medicinal powders could help to dispel colds, make eyes bright, refresh the energy, cure migraine and tooth pain, relieve throat trouble, and cure asthma. So they were very popular among the upper class and rich people.
Snuff bottles are made of a wide variety of materials. These include coral, ivory, jade, jadeite, mother of pearl, lapis lazuli, quartz, malachite, agate, turquoise, porcelain as well as gold, silver and other exotic materials. Among these materials glass was widely used.
The snuff bottles were always well designed with beautiful carvings and inlays. However, the inside painting of the snuff bottles are really the great invention by Chinese craftsmen. Inside painted snuff bottles were also sometimes made of rock crystal and amber.
Here’s a legend of the origin of inside painting snuff bottles.painting inside the bottle In the late years of Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1736-1796AD), an official addicted to snuff stopped on his way at a small temple for rest. When he took out his snuff bottle to sniff he found it was empty. He then scraped off a little powder that reminded on the inner wall of the bottle with the smoke-pick. So the lines were left on the inner wall of the bottle and they could be visible through the transparent snuff bottle. A monk at presence saw this and he got an inspiration. Thus a new art form came into being.

How is an inside painting snuff bottle made?
The bottle is filled with iron sand and emery. Shake the bottle back and forth to make the inner surface rough. Next, the craftsmen will use a slender bamboo stick or metal wire with a hook on the tip where the thin brush attaches to paint slightly and carefully. It is very difficult because the mouth of the snuff bottles is very small and the pictures are painted on the inner wall of the snuff bottle that is quite different with painting on the paper. In the small room of the snuff bottle the deft artists give a full play their skills to create figures, animals, birds, flowers and landscapes. Chinese inner painting snuff bottles are the epitome of traditional arts. They are welcomed by the collectors all over the world.

Here are some snuff bottles with inner paintings on sale. Each costs 80USD including shipping. The bottle is made of man-made crystal. It is 12cm high, 7cm wide and 3cm thick. It is packed with an embroidery gift box. Each bottle took one artist 3 days to paint.

inner painting bottle 1
Inner Painting Bottle 1
Inner Painting Bottle 2
inner painting bottle
inner painting bottle
Inner Painting Bottle 3
Inner Painting Bottle 4

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Chinese Jade Article and Jade Jewelry Pearl
Cloisonne(Enamel) Silk, Silk Embroidery, Brocade, Silk Rug and Tapestry
Chinese Inner Painting Snuff Bottles Chinese Lacquer Ware
Chinese Herbal Medicine Chinese Tea and the Tea Set
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