Transparent glass bottle with applied red glass decoration representing symbolic Chinese figures and objects. The introduction of tobacco into China seems to have taken place during the second half of the 16th century through the Portuguese and their consumption in the form of powder to insufflate, known as snuff. The fashion grew throughout the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) and, just as in Europe, it rapidly spread in popularity amongst the upper classes and especially in the elite of the Imperial court.
Snuff bottles were made out of every material known to the Chinese and, as they were easy to transport, the bottles tended to replace the less practical boxes that initially were used to keep snuff. Some bottle also had a tiny spoon attached to the lid with which to extract the ‘pinch’.