| Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries

Visitors' Forum

Asian Art  Forums - Detail List
Asian Art Forums

Message Listing by Date:
Message Index | Back | Post a New Message | Search | Private Mail | FAQ
Subject:Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: joe Sat, Mar 10, 2012 IP:

Thanks for your time any thoughts on age and material would be great, are they reproductions?

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Stan Sun, Mar 11, 2012

Given the tiny images, it is difficult to tell much of anything. The left one is Peking glass with a single layer of red glass over a clear or white glass. The other two appear to be stone but could be glass. The middle might be marble or agate and the right one agate.

From the pictures (and in general) age is very difficult to determine. Look for wear on the bottoms. Is there any tobacco residue in them - in other words, have they been used for their original purpose?

Are they reproductions? Certainly they could be. There is nothing about the style that defines them as old.

My policy when buying snuff bottles is to look at the workmanship. If it is intricately carved or painted and well executed (and the price is right) then I might buy it. Below are a few examples.


Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Cal Mon, Mar 12, 2012

Your glass bottles are not 'reproductions' of anything old, although the one with the red overlay does imitate a technique adopted in the 19th century.

Such bottles have been made in China for most of the last 200 years, and what is being made today is often of better quality glass and colors than made in the early 20th century.

The notion of "Beijing glass" is a misnomer. The glass given this name by Western dealers was not made in Beijing. The term should be dropped.

If you should entertain the idea in the future of buying glass bottles, obtain a jeweler's loupe and examine the surface very carefully for signs of mold marks that may not have been completely smoothed.

Some such bottles, antique and closer to that age, were made for scented oil or cosmetic substances rather than for snuff, so carefully look for any residue on the bottle interior. A dealer wishing to sell as antique snuff bottle could easily have a spoon-cap made, or adapt a stray from a different bottle.

Good luck,

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Geroge Ingraham Wed, Mar 21, 2012

The blue one far right appears to be carved porcelain.

The purple carved bottle next to it, is amethyst.

Hard to tell for sure what the white one is.. My guess is glass.

The two pink carved ones look to me to be rose quartz.

Best guess for the blue one is carved blue glass meant to imitate turquoise.

My best guesses :)

If in fact I am correct about the blue one being carved porcelain, then it is a little treasure. If I am wrong, and it is carved resin, then... , well.. Pretty darn sure it is porcelain though.

The amethyst carved one is my favorite !

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Stan Sat, Mar 24, 2012


I wasn't looking to determine what my snuff bottles are made of. That was the original poster. Since you guessed, I thought you would like to know how you scored.

The right one is porcelain. If you look closely at the base you can see it is chipped.

The amethyst is one of my favorites also. It is carved from a geode and fades from amethyst to smoky quartz. The white quartz crust is carved with a river/boat scene with one person steering and 3 passengers with a tree branch, waterfalls, and the moon in the background.

The white one is jade.

The two pink ones are rose quartz. The smaller one is a delight. It is well hollowed and has a nice floral motif.

I am fairly certain the blue one is turquoise. The other side is better with birds and prunus branches.

The carnelian one on the left end is very nice also with a horse rider (with auspicious bats above) on one side and a tree and small house (the rider's?) on the other.

I also like the agate feather in the foreground.


Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: George Ingraham Mon, Mar 26, 2012

Thanks !

All are wonderful bottles ..

Not so sure the one is Turquoise though.. It lacks any natural copper veins.

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Stan Mon, Mar 26, 2012


Below is the other side of the turquoise bottle. It shows some veins. As long as I was taking a picture, I threw in a couple more bottles.

The light green jadeite one with the goldfish in a pond is another favorite. There is a green hardstone one with a bird surrounded by flowers.


Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: George Ingraham Tue, Mar 27, 2012

I also really like the carved jade on the left !

Am still not convinced about the turqoise colored one though..

Ya know, if it is truly a mineral, and not glass.. There is a mineral called variquoise. It is where turquoise and variscite merge within a mine. That might explain the color and also the lack of copper veins.

Probably a long shot !

Trying to peg what the dark green mineral is..

I am tempted to suggest mawsitsit..

Gosh.. , if it is mawsitsit, sure would be a rare and pricey bottle . That dark of a green mawsitsit would make it a triple A grade material. I have seen it that dark before, but very rare. Also hardly ever see a chunk of mawsitsit that large.

Again, probably a real long shot.

Hmmm... Do you already know what it is Stan ?

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Stan Wed, Mar 28, 2012

I guess we'll have to leave the turquoise one unknown. Unless there is a simple test I can do.

Ernest, our resident jade expert, told me in a private email conversation that the dark green one was maw-sit-sit. I didn't realize that that color is rare or valuable. I liked it because it is nicely carved. Now, I like it more!

Below is the other side of the maw-sit-sit bottle. Again, since I had the camera out, I threw in a couple of more bottles. There is a purple jade one - a modern carving (Ernest informed me) of a stork in a pine tree and a deer in the foreground. Below them are a couple of crappy maw-sit-sit bottles. I expect they are modern carvings.

We have quite a number of porcelain, bone, ivory, and composite bottles. We struck up a friendship with a couple of associate curators from the Peabody Essex Museum and one day went into the storage building and went through the snuff bottles and Japanese woodblock prints. I had hoped the husband, the Chinese art associate curator, would be able to tell me what was crap and what was gold. Regrettably, his knowledge was no better than mine. The PEM does have a porcelain bottle that is a dead ringer for the dragon/phoenix one you liked.


Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: George Ingraham Thu, Mar 29, 2012


That is just a guess on the Mawsitsit !

It is super dark which if Mawsitsit would be very rare..

It just looks like a possibility !

A pic of some darker mawasitsit below..

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Ernest Wilhelm Sat, Mar 31, 2012

Those last 2 may be very well low grade Jadeite.

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Stan Wed, Mar 28, 2012

Some better pictures of the purple one (and others) are in the link below.


URL Title :Lavender Jade Snuff Bottle

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: Stan Sat, Mar 24, 2012


kk and I were comparing horse snuff bottles at the link below. There are a couple of good pictures of the carnelian bottle there.


URL Title :Horse Snuff Bottles

Subject:Re: Help with snuff bottles?
Posted By: David Wed, Oct 06, 2021

If you still have any questions regarding modern inside painted and enameled glass snuff bottle.

This site might help!

URL Title :D.D Art snuff bottle | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |