- CNTV English - CCTV News

Presentation unveils inner beauty of snuff bottles

05-30-2011 09:29 BJT

Watch Video

Play Video

"Snuff bottles" were used by the Chinese people during the Qing Dynasty to contain powdered tobacco. The stimulant was used as a remedy for common illnesses such as colds and headaches.

Although nowadays people no longer carry the powder in a small bottle, replica snuff bottles can still be purchased in souvenir shops. Their beauty and value makes them great collectibles, especially for the exquisite paintings inside.

Without a doubt, the bottles that arouse the most interest among collectors are those with paintings on the inside. There may be a picture as well as calligraphy painted on the inner surface of the glass. Recently one of China's top craftsman of the technique, Mr Zhang Zenglou, held a small presentation for the public.

Zhang Zenglou said, "The usual size of a snuff bottle would fit in the palm of your hand, so it requires skills and experience to manipulate the brush through the neck of the bottle, and also to paint in reverse."

Recently one of China's top craftsman of the technique, Mr Zhang Zenglou, held a small
presentation for the public.

These delightful scenes are only 3 to 6 centimeters high, and the neck of the bottle may be less than a centimeter across. Traditionally a skilled artist may complete a simple bottle in a week while something special may take a month or more. According to one scholar in traditional culture, The range of subject matter used in the inside painted bottles is without limit.

Chang Xianglin, scholar, said, "There are scenes, fish, birds, poems, even portraits."

The subjects and skills are the reflection to the inventiveness of Chinese craftsmen. What's more, nowadays they have even adapted several skills from the western painting styles. As the delicate bottles have always been desirable for collectors, the beauty of a snuff bottle is probably more important than any utilitarian consideration.

Although the inside painting is enrolled as an item of China's intangible cultural heritage, the craft is still suffering from a lack of investment and interested young painters.

In the public meeting, Mr Zhang expressed his sincere hopes that the presentation will attract a few of the younger generation, and that the artistic value and commercial potential would inspire more painters to fully devote themselves to the craft.

Recently one of China's top craftsman of the technique, Mr Zhang Zenglou, held a small
presentation for the public.


Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program