The snuff bottle painted on the inside is a later-emerging handicraft. If other sorts of snuff
bottles were executed in arts and crafts techniques, the sole skill on inside painting was born
especially for painting snuff bottles. Its outstanding contribution lies in: with innovations in tools
and operations, the painters turned the art painted and written on sheets of paper into art
painted on hard glass snuff bottle (including rock crystal), and moreover, painted reversely
on the inside, of which the difficulty and intriguing are unimaginable. It is superb
craftsmanship excelling nature. It is worth noting that the success and development of the snuff
bottle painted on the inside depended on the high-transparency glass, especially the successful technique
The date when the inside painted snuff bottle was first made still remains to be confirmed. But
the Qianlong Theory and Guangxu Theory of the Qing dynasty were widely spread.
The Guangxu reign (1875-1908) saw a climax in the production of the inside painted snuff bottles. Famous painters
coming forth in large numbers. The subject matters painted are wide-ranging. Each different in style, opening up a prospect
of all flowers vying for beauty in full bloom. The master painters who exercised strong influence upon the art of the inside
painting including Zhou Leyuan, Ma Shaoxuan, Ye Zhongsan, Ding Erzhong, Meng Zishou, Bi Rongjiu and others.
The inside-painted snuff bottle also had something to do with the Qing imperial court. The imperial court did collect several
portraitures by renown painters, giving a proof to the fact that the inside painted snuff bottles found favor in the
eyes of the royal family and were presented as tributes.
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