Antique Japanese Ivory Bamboo Snuff Bottle

Snuff bottles were used in Asia to contain powdered tobacco. During the sixteenth century, smoking tobacco was illegal, but the use of snuff was allowed because Asians considered snuff to be a remedy for common illnesses. Snuff therefore was carried in small bottles like other medicines, and the more delicate the carving, material and container, the more the upper class enjoyed the design. The snuff bottle is comparable to the snuffbox used by Europeans. From the 1930s, Japanese artists made beautiful snuff bottles, which were obviously influenced by the original Chinese counterparts.

A good snuff bottle has an extra quality over and above its exquisite beauty and value: touch. Snuff bottlesare objects to be held, and as a rule, they have a wonderful tactile quality, as this one does. This piece is old ivory, carved to represent the stalk of a bamboo tree, with beautiful detailing of bamboo, plum blossoms and pine trees (Sho-Chiku-Bai) on the front side of the piece. The lid is perfectly fitted to the bamboo container and contains its original ivory spoon. The piece is unsigned. Approximate age: 1920’s.
Dimensions: 2 ½”h x 6/8” dia.

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