Currently showcasing in Hangzhou’s Southern Song Official Kiln Museum is a very interesting exhibition of snuff bottles from the collections of the Wuhan Museum. Starting from October 20 the exhibition will last for three months.
The exhibition displays over 120 precious snuff bottles from the collections of the Wuhan Museum and most of them date back to the period between the Qing Dynasty and the Republic Period of China era. Exhibits are of various styles and made from all kinds of materials.
Besides appreciating exquisite snuff bottles visitors can personally enjoy their very own snuff which is prepared from Chinese traditional medicine by the museum. Also, at the end of this October arts and crafts masters will demonstrate the skill of intricately painting the interiors of snuff bottles.
Tobacco was introduced into China in the late 16th century by European missionaries and at that time, was viewed as a new trend in the Chinese upper classes.
Before the establishment of the Qing Dynasty (1636–1912) it was smoked through pipes and it was only later that the use of snuff and snuff bottles had gained popularity, spreading into the rest of the country and into every social class. The snuff bottles that used to contain snuff gradually became an object of beauty and a way to represent status and wealth by literati and government officials, which then gradually developed into a unique type of art.
Snuff bottles of various shapes and patterns appeared in different social classes and were not only used to represent the owner’s social status but also his perception of art.
When making snuff bottles, Chinese craftsmen absorbed the principles of traditional skills such as Chinese and foreign painting, calligraphy and engraving, and all of which enabled the intricate snuff bottles to show off their unique charms. As one of the epitomes in the development of Chinese arts, snuff bottles give modern people the opportunity to marvel at history through their exquisite workmanship and beauty.
In Jiande, there is an ancient town that has experienced thousands of years of wind and rain. It has a beautiful name called Meicheng (Plum Blossom Town). Meicheng was the state town of the then Yanzhou and is now the county town of Jiande. It has a history of 1700 years.