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Chinese Snuff Bottles

Snuff Bottle with Lotus Blossoms, 1715–22, Chinese

Starting in the seventeenth century, Chinese emperors and other elites began collecting snuff bottles, which were not only used as containers for powdered tobacco (snuff), but were also valued as precious objects. Under the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736–1795), snuff bottle production reached new aesthetic and technological heights, and their popularity continued through the late nineteenth century. Made from glass, porcelain, gourds, seeds, semi-precious stones, and hard stones, these bottles represent the versatility and expertise of the artisans who produced them and showcase the richness of the museum’s holdings.