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Modern Art of Snuff Bottle

Inside painted snuff bottle: a collecting guide

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

This article offers 5 key points on collecting contemporary inside painted snuff bottles, which D.D Art uses these as collection principle. Respectively are the artist's background, resume of artwork, personal style, and select the one you love most and last but not the least, Only select the best! - Estimated reading time: 6 mins

The Chinese snuff bottle is a traditional Chinese and classic craft with a long-held history from the late Ming to the early Qing Dynasty. It reflects the hint of the Old Chinese lifestyle and the historical testimony to Qing dynasty habits. Initially, a snuff bottle was a practical invention to hold snuff. Due to its convenience and practicality, later palace craftsmen made snuff bottles in various ways to cater to the royal families. Snuff Bottles made of jade, ceramics, glass, ivory, glass, enamel, etc., are regarded as adorable, and the surviving works have been captivated by collectors from all over the world. Snuff bottles are not uncommon in international auctions, such as the recent Christie's auction and Sotheby's auction. Snuff bottles are all covered. In China, snuff bottles are also a frequent art form that appeared in reputed auctions. Of the various snuff bottles, the modern snuff bottle is another exciting category to certain collectors. Modern inside painted constitutes one group within the snuff bottle family, while contemporary enamel glass snuff bottle has certain fans. Speaking of the value, some collectors argue that compared to the historicity of antique snuff bottles, modern inside painted to appear to be of little value. However, D.D Art proposes a different idea.



D.D Art believes that when appreciating contemporary inside painting snuff bottles, one needs to break away from traditional art thinking and look at modern inside painting snuff bottles from a brand-new perspective. The essence of contemporary inside painting snuff bottles is similar to the so-called conceptual art in the West, a new technique that attempts to innovate on the old carrier, starting from the invention of inside painting skills. Conceptual integration and breakthrough are orginal departure of the modern snuff bottle. Therefore, contemporary snuff bottles should be viewed from a new perspective to enjoy the fun different from the old one. So what are the main points when collecting contemporary snuff bottles? D.D Art put forward 5 critical points for the systematic collection of contemporary inside paintings.


1. The background of the artist reveals...


In the first step, collectors should have a rough understanding of the artist's background. From the behavior, education, and teacher of a living artist, ever won the award, these factors will affect the current/future value of the work. For example, if an artist focuses only profitable, then the work may be over-produced. Whether the artist owns the award such as " Chinese arts and crafts" is a good sign as excellent work. Therefore, just as D.D Art decides whether to collect a piece of work, we will have sufficient knowledge of the artist itself before we choose it.


In the case of Mr. Li Yingtao in our collection, because of his disability, when he was young, he was more attentive than the average person in learning inside painting. Based on talent, he independently made breakthroughs in his works and used the unique technique of ink-splashing to show a lively, cheerful, and energetic inner state in his works. It is vastly different from the traditional painter who loves copying as its deep root in Chinese art field. In addition, according to our interactions with the artist, D.D Art also learned that the output of Mr. Li Yingtao's works is not much in circulation compared to some craftsmen who take pleasure in money, like to produce in large quantities. Therefore, Mr. Li Yingtao's works are included in our D.D Art gallery.


A master-class artwork, splash ink snuff bottle by Li YIngtao.
A master-class artwork, splash ink snuff bottle by Li YIngtao.


2. Resume of the artwork


Antique snuff bottle does not necessarily have a complete work history because it has a long history, and many things can hardly be tested. However, for contemporary artworks, the resume and provenance of the work are critical, affecting the value and the possible future investment return. Snuff bottle collectors should ask the following four questions beforehand to help identify whether the works can be collected directly.


  1. Has this work ever been exhibited?

  2. Has it ever been in the hands of a well-known auction house or dealer?

  3. Has it ever been collected by a well-known collector?

  4. Is the resume of this work complete?


A complete resume can show the potential of the work and increase the conviction that the product is authentic. If the collection is intended to be released in the future, a complete resume can also increase the willingness of next-hand collectors. However, contemporary interior painting snuff bottle works are still developing in the market, and comprehensive resumes are rare. Regardless of it, the resume of the artwork is still one of the reference factors for the collection of modern inside painting snuff bottles. Choosing a reputed dealer is a good option for a resume. For instance, every artwork released by D.D Art will be issued with an authenticated certification signed by the original artist.