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The Best Souvenirs in Beijing to Bring Back Home

2016-01-06 11:53:55Share:

  Peking Glass Snuff Bottle 内画鼻烟壶

Best Souvenirs in Beijing


  The Peking glass snuff bottles are a traditional Chinese handicraft with a history of about 200 years. They are popular in China and abroad for their unique workmanship and exquisite artistry.


  Reportedly, snuffing tobacco was introduced into China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the snuff bottles represented a combination of Chinese and foreign cultures. They are not only a container for tobacco but also a form of art, collected by wealthy businessmen and influential people.


  The snuff bottles are made of special materials, such as jade, and have a unique shape. Ones painted on the inside are particularly famous and admired by collectors. They are also called reverse painted due to the technique.


  This difficult method uses a very thin bamboo brush, inserted through the narrow neck of the bottle and angled to make the required brush strokes. The object has to be painted in reverse order since the first drop of paint to touch the glass will be in front of subsequent brush strokes. Thus the details must be painted before the subject: Eyes first, then face, then background, etc. The "reverse" of how typical painters work.


  Most of the paintings inside the bottles are Chinese style, with vivid pictures, simple colors, and elegant layouts, giving them a great collection value. Moreover, the bottles also represent Chinese tobacco culture, and provide a historical source for tobacco culture research.


The Imperial Gardens