Fish-shaped jadeite snuff bottle

Accession Number

Fish-shaped jadeite snuff bottle


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1900-1930

Medium & Support
jadeite on wood base

1 3/4 in x 3 15/16 in x 13/16 in (4.5 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm);1 3/4 in x 3 15/16 in x 13/16 in (4.5 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Robert W. Coggan

Subject matter
Snuff bottles have fascinated Western and Asian collectors since they were first produced in China in the early part of the 18th century. Conceived as precious containers for ground tobacco imported into China, snuff bottles were initially made for the emperor and the court, and eventually produced in much greater quantities for a public who enjoyed their functionality as well as their display as symbols of status.
These exquisite miniatures, which measure between one-and-a-half and three inches high, not only illustrate the technical virtuosity of Qing dynasty craftsmen, but also provide a window on life and culture in late imperial China.
For example, early 18th-century imperial glass and painted enamel bottles show the influence of the Jesuits at court, and the imperial fascination with Western technical advances. Carved examples in different mediums such as jade and glass illustrate the relationships between craftsmen working at the imperial workshops, and the favoured motifs across materials. Later 19th-century versions reveal how earlier imperial tastes became popular with the general public, while confirming the continuing status of snuff use in Qing society.

Physical Description
A Jadeite snuff bottle that is shaped like a fish. The body of the fish is carved with scales, the head has caring of eyes and the mouth of the fish is where the opening of the snuff outlet is with a cap at the very end of it. The back of the snuff bottle is shaped like the tail fin of the fish. The front (head) of the fish is green and fades into white at the body of the fish. It is sitting on a decorated wooden stand.

Primary Object Classification
Decorative Arts

Primary Object Type
snuff bottle

Collection Area

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fish (animals)
snuff bottles

2 Related Resources

Shahnama, the Persian Book of Kings
(Part of: Shahnama, The Persian Book of Kings     )

& Author Notes

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