Home  /  History


History origin and development of snuff bottles

Snuff bottle is the special container for snuff. Snuff came to China during the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty when a western missionary offered it as tribute to the Emperor, and it was continued in the Qing Dynasty.

At that time, people put snuff into the bottle as medicine. When you want to use it, you can get it from the bottle, it’s very convenient. The utensil that is filled with snuff was called “snuff bottle”. The popular snuff makes the snuff bottle develop quickly. People can make different shape bottles of all kinds of material, such as: Gold, Silver, Copper, Porcelain, Bowlder, Coral, Agate, Jade, Crystal, Wood, Bamboo root, gourd, etc. The snuff bottle not only has a certain practicability, also as an important present in international intercourse.

According to the material and technology, snuff bottles can be divided into six categories: metal, jade, ceramics, glassware, organic matter and inside painted .Snuff bottle is called a pocket-size art ware which absorbs various arts & crafts of China.

Inside painted snuff bottles, which combine Chinese calligraphy and painting with formative arts, originates from the Jiaqing Period of the Qing Dynasty ( 1796 -- 1820 A.D.). The medium is transparent. A hooked brush is put in the bottle to write or paint on the ground inside surface of the bottle. It is called the art of “Superlative Craftsmanship”.

Chinese snuff bottle has a long history of four hundred years so far. It is a favourite thing as Chinese cultural relic in the world. Also it’s an epitome of Chinese art. Chinese paintings, foreign paintings, calligraphy, engrave, inlay, and bowlder, porcelain, lacquer, enamel and metal, etc art all concentrate in snuff bottle

Four Schools of Chinese Inside Painting Art

Now days inside painting art has four schools. They are Jing School, Lu School, Ji School and Yue School. Among them, Ji School has the most influence.
Jing School: simple and vigorous, elegant color;
Lu School; easy and smooth lines, rich composition;
Yue School: magnificent decoration, bright color;
Ji School: abstruse conception, excellent skill, combining painting and calligraphy perfectly, appealing to all levels of appreciation.

Introduction of Ji-Branch Inner Painting

Hengshui inner painting could also be named as Ji-branch inner painting, it is founded and developed by great master of inner painting—Wang Xisan. It uses small writing brush with metal hook rod as tools, as well as Chinese painting pigment, oil painting pigment and propylene pigment. By inheriting the dignified,classic and elegant of Jing-branch inner painting,Hengshui inner painting mixes Lu-branch’s exquisite and smooth traditional technique and Chinese traditional paintings’ technique of “Cun, wipe, dye, point, tick and loop”, display the inner painting technique to the full extent. It then added greasepaint into inner painting and breaks limitation of solely watercolors, thus making drawing, form and spirit of inner painting reach to perfection. It is an excellent model of Chinese and Western Combination.

Hengshui City was named “the Hometown of Inside Painting Art of China”
by the Culture Ministry in December 1993.

Hengshui Inside Painting Art was listed in the first batch of National Intangible Culture Heritage in China in July.7th,2006

Arts Features of Ji-branch inner painting: diverse style, smart composition, profound meaning, precise molding, carefully rub and dye, elegant colors;
Features of painting type: combination of Chinese painting and oil painting, simulating picture effects of various types.

In terms of themes of painting, it has figures, landscape, animals, portraiture, flowers, birds, fish and insect, still life and scenery.

During this transition period, Ji-branch successors adhere to the principle of “ practical artwork, artistic products”, after 40 years of developing and exploring, Hengshui inner painting has developed from solely pure Hand inside painted snuff bottle to various practical hand inside painted artworks: hand inside painted crystal balls, Hand inside painted home decoration ornaments. ,hand inside painted glass vase, hand inside painted glass screen, Hand- painted glass Christmas balls, Christmas ornaments, Hand- painted glass Christmas baubles, Hand inside painted wine set, Hand inside painted pen container, Hand inside painted glass necklace, Hand painted glass Buddha beads and a series of new Hand painted practical products.

Hengshui inner painting products have achieved more affection and attention from artwork collectors from home and abroad.