Chinese Snuff Bottles

Snuff was a mixture of powdered tobacco and other substances often sniffed or snorted in China recreationally. Its use originated during the late 15th or early 16th century, though most of the snuff bottles seen today date from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

Snuff was a social drug and at times customary for people to share upon greeting each other. People carried snuff bottles because they were the most convenient way of transporting the substance, however, due to the social nature of the drug, many people had beautiful and elaborate bottles made from precious materials as a not-so-discreet means of showing their status.

Due to the delicacy of these pieces, oftentimes there have been some restorations. It should be noted a few of the stoppers have had some repair and/or restoration. If you would like more information about an individual item, please contact us.

Most of the snuff bottles available at Hartman Rare Art date circa 19th century, though we do have a few earlier pieces. For specific pieces available in our collection, please refer to the corresponding “Categories” links on the sidebar. And feel free to browse our