Friday, April 04, 2008

Exquisite Chinese Snuff Bottles (鼻烟壶 ) - PhotoHunt


PhotoHunt : Glass
Glass, painted on the inside with ink and watercolours - A Scene From The Dream Of The Red Chamber (c. 1895-1901), 7.1 cm
Taken at Chinese Snuff Bottles Exhibition, Asian Civilisation Museum

The Chinese had used small bottles to store their medicine for centuries. Tobacco was thought to be a great way to treat colds, headaches, stomach aches and many other illnesses. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the taking of snuff (a mixture of powdered tobacco and aromatic substances) became popular throughout China. It was initially a habit of the elite.


The Chinese stored the snuff in tiny, portable glass bottles because of the humid conditions. A small spoon in each bottle was used to retrieve it, which would then be placed on a snuff dish, or on the hand, to be ingested through the nose.


A Chinese artist focusing on the delicate art of interior painting.

The art of interior painting is unique to China and was developed during the Qing Dynasty. Tiny masterpieces are painted by reaching down through the neck of the bottle with a tiny, curved brush or a piece of bamboo. The bottle neck is only half a centimetre wide!

The artist has to paint the subject in reverse order since the first drop of paint to touch the glass will be in front of subsequent brush strokes. The details must be painted before the subject. Eyes first...., then face...., then background. It is the reverse of how typical artists work.

It demands very delicate skill and patience.

A snuff bottle is usually no taller than 7 cm.

Beautifully crafted snuff bottles were collected as prized possessions, and status symbols by the wealthy. There is a stunning array of exquisite snuff bottles made of almost every available kind of material - from porcelain, glass, jade and lacquer, to amber, coral, hornbill and bamboo. They have become collectors' items today.








53 comments:

  1. if it was me, it would take ages (or forever) for me to complete the painting!!

    yet another meaningful history lesson from ECL!

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  2. Tks leonard! ^-^
    I won't even be able to paint inside the bottle! I cannot see well now! arghhhh......

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  3. What beautiful works of art, and what artisans!!!

    Come, let's go mow the padang..

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  4. eastcoast, those bottles are beautiful and beautifully painted! Stop by my blog - I have an award for you! :D

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  5. Oh I LOVE Snuff bottles!!1 Ever since I first laid eyes on these art pieces I never stopped loving them. Wish I have more money to buy more of them for my collection!!

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  6. Producing a snuff bottle just seems like an art that requires very good eye-hand coordination, and awfully perfect hand and finger dexterity.

    Come to think of it, would producing snuff bottle be a dying art? I just can't imagine myself sniffing from those snuff bottles.

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  7. I've emptied many a bottle while painting the town, but I don't think I could paint inside the bottle like that!!

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  8. i love these snuff bottles! u think i can get one and sniff some Chanel No. 5?? kekeke...

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  9. How artistic - it really looks so good and you can almost smell it.

    You always do such great research - interesting read - thanks for sharing!

    Wishing you a great weekend!

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  10. You must have tons of patience to do that kind of painting. Have a nice weekend.

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  11. Beautiful work of art. Love your entry for this week.

    Happy hunting.

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  12. Great info on the snuff bottle. I've seen a few of these but never really know that it's painted reverse!

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  13. i saw this type of art during my trip to Shanghai..it creatine indeed

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  14. Such a beauty and splendid work of art. I won't even try, I might just mess it up :)

    Have a great weekend!

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  15. That is a most interesting article on Snuff Bottles. And that bottle is so pretty.

    My grandmother dipped snuff. Straight out of the can and with a chewed stick (like a brush) to get the snuff out.

    I love this post!!!

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  16. Olden days "Vicks inhaler" ?? heehee...
    Elegant and dainty looking. But if I were to hold one for long, what will be left would only be broken glass pieces.
    My hands will shake like nobody's biz if I were to paint on that "mini" surface :P

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  17. How interesting.
    I have small bottles that some looks like that from my ceramics molds but I always thought they were perfume bottles.

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  18. These are great ECL, very beautiful and so much effort to paint them.
    Have a great weekend.

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  19. These painters must have very high patience level. It I were to paint one, I think it will take forever. Happy Weekend (=

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  20. Beautiful! Amazing what those craftsmen can do.

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  21. wow they look so pretty :P definitely better than my piece of glass, lol

    have a great weekend :D

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  22. Wow... I need to be the master of patience in order to paint one. :P anyway, they are real beautiful for the display cabinet. Any spare around? :P

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  23. That is really some exquisite craftsmanship!

    Have a great weekend.

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  24. That is awesome eastcost, I would love to have one, hehehehe.

    Happy Hunting and enjoy your weekend!

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  25. That is so beautiful, I'm not surprised it's a collector's item!

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  26. It is a so delicate art. I imagine it takes time to learn a such technic! I'm very impresse!

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  27. That is very interesting and very daunting to imagine working on something that small and backwards at that! Amazing. What craftsmen.

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  28. The snuff bottle is so beautiful and interesting information in your post. Great take on the glass theme.

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  29. I love glass -- I have a collection of colored and clear pieces. Have to keep it away from the kids and dog!

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  30. Even to paint something so beautiful on the outside would be hard!

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  31. wow what a great little glass perfect for this weeks theme
    view mine if you wish here
    thanks

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  32. My dad got one of these interior painted glass too from China! Impressive!

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  33. What amazing talent one must have to paint inside a tiny bottle. Great article and I love the photo.

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  34. Wow. That was facinating and gorgeous displays of glass.

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  35. Now THIS is art! At its painstakingly best! I love to have one like that. Thank you for sharing this information. I surely learned another new thing today. See you at our WS 4. Thank you!

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  36. hi eastcoastlife,

    nice site you got there!

    care for a link exchange? my site deals with asian movies.

    URL: http://filmasia.blogspot.com

    cheers,

    Film Asia

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  37. Oh my, that is lovely. I can't even imagine the amount of patience needed to do something like that. Just beautiful.

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  38. Oh, what a beautiful choice for the theme!!

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  39. wow this is way cool.hope I can find some here in Doha. :) this is really lovely.thanks for sharing :D


    uem,i just wonder how much would they cost. ^_^

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  40. how they make the paints dun stick to the powdered medicine inside..?

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  41. Yes, I have to add: just beautiful!!!

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  42. This is a great post abut something historical and significant to your culture:)

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  43. that bottle is absolutely beautiful!

    ;->...

    I love stuff like that

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