comes to China
Snuff is a kind of pharmaceutical
preparation which the perfect
ground tobacco powder is put into
some rare medicinal Herb's-musk,
etc. and sealed them into the
wax pills and then staled for
several different kinds of color,
such as dark purple, deep yellow,
pale yellow and so on. It tastes
mellow and sharp . It is said
that it can make eyes bright,
refresh, exorcise epidemic disease,
invigorate the circulation of
blood. In the years of Wanli (Qing
Dynasty), tobacco was circulated
from America, Luzon to Fujian
Province in China.
At the late 16th century the
custom of tobacco-leave smoking
and snuffing was spread from the
Philippines to Japan by Portuguese
and Spanish sailors, traders ,
missionaries. Tobacco was planted
in the Japanese Imperial Garden
and in the southern coastal trade
ports. At the beginning of 17th
century smoking is very popular
in the upper-class, just like
the tea, as an symbol of respecting
guests. Then it spread to the
Northeast China and Korea. Snuffing
soon became a custom there. At
the same time, Russia businessmen
took tobacco, snuff and snuff
boxes down to Northeast China
Legend of Chinese inside
painting snuff bottle
Here*s an legend of its origin.
In the late years of Qianlong
(a Qing Dynasty), an official
went to Beijing for business and
then addicted to snuff. With his
business failed and all money
running out of him, he had to
lodge in a poor temple. Due to
the snuffing addiction and with
no money to buy it, he digged
the remainder on the inside surface
by a smoke-pick. As a result he
drew many marks in it. Later a
Buddhist monk saw this and got
an inspiration. He then digged
a picture of bamboo with hook
inside the surface of a transparent
bottle. This may be how the inside-painting
snuff bottle occurs.
How is a inside painting
snuff bottle made?
At the beginning painter painted
on the inside surface of the transparent
glass or crystal snuff bottle.
Since the surface is smooth and
uneasy to be described, only simple
pictures , for example, katydids,
cabbage, landscape, were completed.
Then the bottle is filled with
iron sand and emery, shaken and
robbed as rough as Xuan Paper.Next
, fine pictures, such as the figures,
flowers, birds are painted. All
work should be done with great
Development of Chinese
inside painting snuff bottle and
Hebei School Inside Painting
Chinese snuff bottle is called
the epitome of Chinese arts ,such
as painting, calligraphy, carving,inlaying,handicrafts,
ceramics, glassware, enamel, etc.
And it is. It really is. This
is why Chinese snuff bottle is
well-known all over the world
It is said that it was emerged
between the years of Qianlong
and Jiaqing (two Qing Dynasties),
so it has been a kind of Chinese
art for 200 years.
During the Qing Dynasty, bottles
were mainly made out of Guangzhou,
Beijing, Boshan (in Shandong Province),
Inner-Mongolia, Liaoning Province
and Tibet. Inner-Mongolia famous
for its silver snuff bottles,
and Liaoning for agate ones, and
Tibet metal ones.
To make an inside painting bottle,
painter must work on the rubbed
inside surface throughout the
mouth of a bottle. Fine pictures
are painted. It looks magnificent
and smooth and so gains much admiration.
In Europe is fairly expensive.
From the years of Guangxu to
early 20th century, the art of
inside painting reached its prosperity.
The painting subjects are very
wide and many highly-skilled painters
occurred. The most famous were:
Zhou Leyuan, Ma Shaoxuan, Ding
Zrzhong, Ye Zhongsan, Bi Longjiu,
Zhang Wentang and Xue Jingwan.
Ye Zhongsan was born in 1875
and died in 1945. The pictures
he painted includes flowers, birds,
mountains, rivers, figures, plants,
insects and any other possible
things. At the same time he modeled
after the works of Zhou Leyuan
and Ma Shaoxuan. These made his
works very popular overseas. In
the Chongyang Festival of 1913,
he painted a picture of a mythical
legend: Zhong Kui. One side is
Zhong Kui and the other side his
sister. The pictures linked up
each other and combined as a whole
and can be separated individually.
Ye Xiaofeng and Ye Fengqi, sons
of Ye Zhongsan, carried on father's
skill and have achieved great
Wang Xisan, whose former name
was Wang Ruicheng, was born in
1938. In 1957 he learned the art
of the inside painting from Ye
Xiaofeng and Ye Fengqi. On the
basis of his traditional skillful
teachers, he learned good points
from each schools, especially
Chinese painting and calligraphy.
He mixed them into the inside
painting and got the top standard.
In 1978, Wang Xisan was conferred
the title "Handicraft Artist"
and in 1988 "Master of Chinese
Handicraft" by the Department
of Light Industry.
Zhang Rucai, since 1972, he has
learned from Wang Xisan who is
the founder of Hebei School Inside
Painting Snuff Bottle.
In April 1996, Zhang Rucai was
conferred Master of Chinese Folk
Arts & Crafts by the United
Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
In June the same year, he was
awarded Master of China Arts &
Crafts by China Light Industrial
General Association and received
by Premier Li Peng.
Zhang Rucai is the chief director
of the Chinese Handicraft Research
Association of Snuff Painting.
From 1985, he was invited abroad
many times to attend various fairs
and cultural and art exchange
activities. The international
fame of Zhang Rucai is rising
as his snuff bottles works were
bought by collectors of different
Tips on Guyuexuan
Guyuexuan originated in Kangxi,
Qing Dynasty. It is made by painting
on glass rough cast with enamel
color and treating it with high
temperature. Due to high degree
of technology difficulty, only
small articles such as snuff bottle,
cigarette dish were made in the
The main difficulty to make Guyuexuan
lies in that the temperature of
enamel is almost same with the
melting point of roughcast. So,
the artisan must be able to strictly
master the kiln temperature and
the thickness of roughcast. To
make a piece of Guyuexuan needs
dozens of coloring and bluing.
With even a little neglect, all
the former efforts would be spoiled.
In the year 1987, Yi-Hu-Zhai
succeeded in producing Guyuexuan
series products of snuff bottle,
flower vase, ornaments etc. in
small batches and thus filled
the gap of handicraft market.
The foreign businessmen and collectors
warmly receive this. We supply
Guyuexuan snuff bottle with a
wide range of designs.
Liu Heping, famous
for his excellent Guyuexuan works,
was awarded Folk Industrial Artist
by the UN Educational Scientific
and Cultural Organization and
Chinese Folk Artists Association.
Learn more about his works.