Double Gourd Root Amber Snuff Bottle

c. 1900
$780 USD
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H: 2.75" Dia: 1.5"
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A mixture of finely powdered tobacco, herbs, and spices, snuff was introduced to China in the 17th century by Western diplomats. Initially reserved for ranking members of Qing-dynasty society, the practice of indulging in snuff provided an opportunity to display one's refined aesthetic through collectible snuff containers.

This early 20th-century snuff bottle is made of "root" amber shaped into a double gourd form, an ancient emblem of health and longevity because doctors traditionally used these natural vessels to carry medicine. Gourds are believed to absorb negative, earth-based energy that might adversely impact good health. The bottle is decorated in low relief with fishing pavilions and lotus blossoms above and fish amidst waves below. The charming snuff bottle has been recently fitted with an amber-tone plaster stopper.

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