Chinese Snuff Bottle

An Unusual Carved Chinese Tiger’s Eye Snuff Bottle | Vintage Three Leg Toad (Chan Chu)


Age:1930 or Later

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 2-7/8”l x 1-1/4”w x 1-1/8”h (3/4”h stand)

The bottle is well carved in the form of a three legged frog, having a wonderful facial expression with eyes looking ahead to the future, has a beautifully carved body and three legs, made from iridescent tiger eye. The body is complimented by its swirling natural pattern and natural color both adding to the real life feeling of the figure. It has its original formed brass spoon finished with a carnelian stopper and made to compliment its wide opened mouth and animal-like form. This piece was valued for having both artistic qualities and for its auspicious nature, and perched upon its beautifully carved hardwood wood stand to simulate the natural environment. 

Condition: Excellent, original condition, beautiful coloration and texture with all decorative aspects attached.

NOTE: Chinese snuff bottles were used only for holding powdered tobacco, usually with some herbs and spices in it, which was inhaled through the nose. They were never used for opium which was a totally different object. The snuff bottles were given back and forth, presented like cigarette cases of the 1920s and valued by collectors. 

The “Three Legged Toad” is a celestial and mythical creature, emerging every full moon to bring with it wealth and good fortune. The wealth toad represents good news about money and has a celestial connection. Like many symbols in Chinese lore, the money frog came from a legend about a frog named CHAN CHU. The story begins with the wife of one of the eight immortals. When she drank the elixir, it turned her into an ugly toad and she was banished to live on the moon. She is considered the ultimate feminine force and is said to swallow the moon during an eclipse. Compassionate gods allowed her to keep the tail of a tadpole, or third leg, versus four legs of a fully developed toad.