Height: 3 1/4 inches, 8.3 cm (without stopper)

Jade ‘pebble’ snuff bottle

China, Qing dynasty, 1750-1820

A jade ‘pebble’ snuff bottle of natural oval form, the interior well hollowed and the mouth slightly flattened.The stone is of even white tone with rich caramel-brown ‘skin’ on the narrow sides of the bottle. The stained stopper is carved in the form of a leafy stalk.

Snuff bottles of pebble material, also known as riverbed-jade, were highly desirable among connoisseurs, literati and the imperial court, even after other sources for jade became available. The natural variations of the skin were used by the carver as integral part of the design, thus conferring the tactility of the natural pebble to the snuff bottle.[1] Two similar jade pebble snuff bottles are illustrated in Jade of the East.[2]

Formerly in the V.W.S. Collection, acquired in China in the 1930s

  1. Moss, H. et al. A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles: The Mary and George Bloch Collection, vol. 1 ‘Jade’, Hong Kong 1995, pp 41-15; Wills, G., Jade of the East, p. 92
  2. Wills, G., Jade of the East, New York 1972, pl. 96, p. 119