Snuff Bottle with European Woman and Child
Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong mark and period (1736–95)
Painted enamel on copper
H. 2 1/8 in (5.4 cm); W. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm); D. 3/4 in. (1.9 cm);
Base: H. 5/8 in. (1.6 cm); Diam. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm); D. 3/4 in. (1.9 cm)
Bequest of Edmund C. Converse, 1921
Not on view
Jesuit missionaries brought snuff, or powdered tobacco, to China in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century. Its use spread quickly, leading to a need for small containers to hold it. Snuff bottles were produced in large numbers and in an astonishing variety of media during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Not all of the snuff bottles were functional. Many were collected for their exoticism, as the eighteenth century was a time of fascination with foreign, especially Western, taste.