Porcelain Snuff Bottle

Started by bokaba, Aug 14, 2016, 11:26:33

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I purchased this ovoid porcelain snuff bottle recently. It is a reddish color marked with an artemisia leaf. From what I've seen the artemisia leaf was a mark from the Kangxi period, but this does not appear to have that kind of age and the period pieces I've seen are a lighter hue of red.

So that looks like it leaves me with the Kangxi revival period at the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Republic Period, or a modern reproduction. Any thoughts?


Probably modern. This because of its shape. Snuff bottles were prestige items and were made to be carried. Can you imagine walking around with such a thing in your pocket? Just too big. Usually the are flat of small and longish. That leaves only one purpose: made for sale only.  Those making it did not think of what for or how a real snuff bottle would be used. My personal view.


Thank you Peter. In my opinion, I don't think a modern production can be proved solely by shape. Snuff use went out of style when the Qing Dynasty ended, so tourist trade snuff bottles could possibly go back to the early 20th Century. I do think the lid, if original, is kind of cheesy. Here is a Qianlong period snuff bottle from Sotheby's that is round.



Please do not confuse imperial and items with what common people used.
You don't think that the people in the palace would go about carrying these things in their sleeves or pockets? The palace ordered lots of things to be made that were imitating foreign items (snuff bottles were foreign), imitated western decorations, etc. The link you posted shows such a typical western decoration and shape that it is impossible to compare with items that commoners used. Many of these were purely for the imperial collection. It would be highly unlikely that the emperor or princes, etc. would have carried these themselves. Just a call, and an Eunuch or servant would have brought what they wanted. The custom of using/carrying snuff came from Europe, and it was used in tiny quantities. Why should they use such bulky containers? 
Did you compare its dimensions with yours?  Most of the snuff bottles on the open market today are 20th century items. They still produced quality items until at least the third quarter of the 20th century, although these were also meant for collecting, probably. I would be glad to get a good quality, genuine one from the republic period. Mostly the old ones are in bad shape, otherwise they are expensive.
Also check the mouth. If it is level it is likely later, if it is slanted inwards it is likely earlier.


I agree with Peter, modern, I do not think that the artemisia leaf was used during the Guangxu period they did a 4 character under glaze blue mark and under glaze blue double ring on the bottoms, or combinations of the two.