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July 25, 2021, 02:25:45 pm
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Snuff bottles as "tear bottles"?!

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Author Topic: Snuff bottles as "tear bottles"?!  (Read 83 times)
amj
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« on: July 15, 2021, 09:57:11 pm »

In 1931, my grandmother received a beautiful, signed blue table inside-painted glass snuff bottle by Yong Shou T'ien that was given to her as a "tear bottle."  Her bride gift book described it as having come from the store Henry Hart's in San Francisco.  I wonder if anyone else has seen such a mistake.  I wonder if they were, at one time, marketed as being something that they weren't.  For 90 years, we have talked about the "tear" bottle, and are now very curious about why this was so.  Anyone?
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George
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2021, 11:41:22 pm »

Hi Annemarie and welcome !

Your question rings a bell with me from a similar question posted to Facebook..

Do you have a picture of your Yong Shou T'ien bottle for us.
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Wattana
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2021, 03:38:57 am »

Hi Annemarie,

Welcome to our forum!

I have to admit, I have never heard of the term 'tear bottle' before.
Hope someone else can throw some light on it for you.

Regards,
Tom
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2021, 09:15:52 am »

Dear Annemarie,
a warm welcome from me too. Considering that even the famous Roman glass Lacrimarium (Lacrymatory) turned out to be actually pots for unguents, I think that it is highly unlikely that some of now converted to snuff bottles was meant for that, especially for the unviable possibility of collecting tears with that type of mouth. It must be one of the many “urban legends”.
Kind regards,
Giovanni
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amj
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2021, 01:26:00 pm »

Tear bottles were part of a Victorian and Middle-Eastern tradition, where a bereaved person was supposed to cry their tears into little bottles to be buried with the deceased. 

I don't think anyone thought the snuff bottle should be used as a tear bottle, but may be have been mistaken for one, as tear bottles were also collectables at the time.  I have seen references to them in popular culture.  We have only just realised that was actually a snuff bottle.



* The TEAR BOTTLE-pic.png (875.3 KB, 561x816 - viewed 14 times.)
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Joey
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2021, 02:10:06 pm »

From my late mom's Ancient glass collection, I have some very tiny glass bottles from both the early Roman [ca. 58 BCE - 100 CE] and the late Roman [ca.100 CE - 325 CE] periods, which were described as 'tear bottles'.
They are too small to hold oils etc., even for very rare and expensive ones.
I asked an archaeologist friend, the number one expert in Nabataean coins, but also in the Roman period in the Land of Israel [Judea].
She said they could be 'tear bottles' or for personal libation offerings to pagan temples.
But no snuff bottles would have been used for that purpose.
It must have been a mis-labeling when the bottle was purchased.
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2021, 08:34:44 pm »

Dear Annemarie,

I have a similar Blue Yong ShouTian bottle that has the exact same stopper Grin
Look at my post below.
https://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,2522.msg32827.html#msg32827

Cheers,
YT
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amj
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2021, 11:46:55 pm »

I have two unsigned bottles, and one signed (the one with the hand).  All very similar to yours!  The white bottle in this picture has an interesting  stopper with a character which I understand means "loss".


* stopper.jpg (1239.93 KB, 1978x1883 - viewed 8 times.)
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