Chinese considered snuff to be a remedy for common illnesses such as colds, headaches and stomach disorders. During the Qing Dynasty, snuff bottles were used to contain powdered tobacco. Although this delicate art has died away among the people since the establishment of Republic of China, it can still be bought in a souvenir shop for its high collection value.
The most charming and truly fascinating snuff bottles are those with paintings on the interior walls. These were painted from the inside out through a technique that first painted the interior with iron oxydal mixed with water. This created a milky white surface suitable to take the paints, which were applied subsequently. Snuff bottles of this genre include landscapes, flower pieces and other works. These were created in a day or less of painstakingly intricate brushwork and are truly works of art. The earliest examples of these date from the 1880s so this form was a relatively late development.