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Snuff bottles - the Thai connection

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Author Topic: Snuff bottles - the Thai connection  (Read 152 times)
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« on: December 10, 2020, 03:55:10 am »

Hi all,
This month's cover of the Journal of the Siam Society (JSS) features a rare Thai snuff bottle.

The caption reads:
Silver snuff bottle, height 5.5 cm, with date 1911 on the rear, carrying the crest of Chuang Bunnag, Chaophraya Si Suriyawong (1808-1883). Courtesy of Paul Bromberg.

Note: Paul Bromberg wrote a detailed article on Thai snuff bottles in Arts of Asia a few years ago.

Most Thai snuff bottles were made of silver or silver alloy. Although having lived in Thailand for many years, I have never come across a locally made snuff bottle. Their use was limited to the Thai aristocracy and royalty. These bottles often have a short silver tube for blowing the powder up the nostrils - much more effective than sniffing it up!
Occasionally you come across old and poorly made wood or stone bottles - probably imported from China for the local Chinese street traders who were the only other section of society to use snuff. The habit survived until the 1940s.

* Bunnag SB from JSS cover01-lo.jpg (42.66 KB, 422x591 - viewed 20 times.)
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 03:58:00 am by Wattana » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2020, 08:16:12 am »

Dear Tom,

Thanks for sharing, it makes us more aware about different culture that links thru Snuff Bottle.

For a 1911 bottle, it must have been polished very constantly to maintain that shine. Just very slight oxidation seen on the lower part of the bottle.
It doesn't seem to be made to stand. And by blowing in, will moisture contaminate the snuff?

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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2020, 01:02:19 pm »

I think you and I briefly talked about Thai bottles some time ago..  Can not explain why I am missing that Arts of Asia magazine. Can't find it, but like your bottle I do recall them all being made of silver and accompanied with a tube.

Really nice bottle Tom, thanks for sharing !
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2020, 03:13:52 pm »

The late John Ault opened my eyes to Thai snuff bottles and allied objects.
Many have that silver nose pipe, but not all. And many are silver, but again, not all.

John and Penny, now both of blessed memory, had at least 60 or 80 examples, and many were 'Lacque Burgaute'.

If you see such bottles with a lot of reddish nacre [mother of pearl], they are from the area off the coast of Siam,
historic Thailand. And if you see with designs of Thai-style flames or of Garudas, again Thai.

Best to all on the First night of Hanuka,
and Merry Christmas to those who don't celebrate Hanuka,
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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