Blue and White Snuff Bottle

c. 1900
$98 USD
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Dimensions
W: 1.25" D: 1.0" H: 2.5"
Materials
Porcelain
Purchase Quantity
Collection #
CESB051
Estimated Shipping
$10

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 provided an opportunity to display one's refined aesthetic through collectible snuff bottles.

This petite ceramic snuff bottle has a hexagonal form and is glazed with cobalt pigments in the tradition of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. A charming scene of a robed scholar alone in a courtyard garden decorates the sides.

The original cap and spoon have been lost.

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Blue & White Porcelain

Soon after its development in the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368 AD), blue-and-white underglaze porcelain became a favorite of the imperial court. Its broad appeal rapidly extended beyond China’s borders, becoming a lucrative export commodity highly sought after in Europe, the Middle East, and beyond.

Using cobalt imported from Western Asia, ceramic artists ground the mineral into a vibrant blue pigment that was then painted directly on a porcelain base, coated with clear glaze, and fired. This underglaze technique brought with it a shift in focus from the overall shape of a vessel to the skill and artistry traceable in its painted decoration.

Transcending time and taste, blue-and-white porcelain continues to be appreciated around the world for the intricate brushwork and brilliant blue color.

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