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Modern Art of Snuff Bottle

A Dreamed art prize for snuff bottle asian painters

Updated: Jul 26

This article talks about the “Master of Chinese arts and crafts” and the selection mechanism. In the realm of craftsmanship, this award is the highest honor for an artist. We list the high standard required for artist selection. For example, only ten artists have received this national honor for inside-painted snuff bottle artists since 1979. Here, we also present all the inside painters who received this award as a reference - Estimated reading time: 4 mins

A portrait of Ye Zhongsan. Picture from Internet. D.D Art
A portrait of Ye Zhongsan. Picture from Internet.

The Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts award is a goal that all craftsmen regard as the highest honor. No artisan does not want this title, for it is a recognition from the country and an acknowledgment of their monumental accomplishment over the years. As a significant field of craftsmanship, inside-painted snuff bottle is also the traditional subject emphasized by the Chinese government. Without a doubt, the government selects inside painted snuff bottles to become one of the award subjects.


Before being called the master of Chinese arts and crafts, the Chinese government named those who had made significant achievements in the arts and crafts as “old artists.” For instance, Ye Bengqi and Ye Xiaofeng, the sons of Ye Zhongsan, one of the major inside-painted snuff bottle masters in the late Qing dynasty. See more details about Ye family, the origin of modern snuff bottle. However, it was not until 1979 that the formal selection process for the Masters of Chinese Arts and Crafts began. This event takes place once every four years. As of 2018, there have been seven editions, and only 533 artists have been awarded. Of all, only ten contemporary inside-painted snuff bottles received this title in 40 years. It is challenging for the snuff bottle artist to earn this title from the record.


Wang Xisan: The certification of the Master of Arts and crafts issued by China Government.
Wang Xisan: a certification of the Master of Arts and crafts by the China Government. Pictiure from Internet

The selection criteria for the Chinese Master of Arts and crafts award are stringent. According to the document, the selection criteria are as follow:


  • Professionals who have been engaged in the design and production of traditional arts and crafts for more than 20 consecutive years (including 20 years)

  • The candidate must have a rich creative experience and profound traditional culture, and artistic accomplishment in history.

  • The artist must equip with comprehensive and superb skills, outstanding creation and unique style, artistic achievements. The candidate should also be recognized within the industry and have a reputation at home and abroad.

  • Make outstanding contributions to the inheritance, excavation, protection, development, and talent training of traditional arts and crafts.

  • The candidate must first have the title of Master of Arts and crafts recognized by the provincial people’s government. We can see that having the title of local Master of Arts and crafts is one threshold for becoming the national Master of Arts and crafts.


From the above, we can know that get a Master of Arts and crafts represents the highest achievement recognized by the country. However, in the field of inside painting snuff bottles, who have ever won this award?


Liu Shouben: the representative of Beijing school in inside painted snuff bottle. D.D Art
Liu Shouben: the representative of Beijing school in inside painting. Picture from Internet.

The following lists the artists who have won the Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts title in the genre of inside painting snuff bottles.


In 1979, the first Chinese Master of Arts and crafts - Wang Xisan

Wang Xisan is the founder of Ji school inside painted snuff bottles. Without a doubt, he deserves to be the first master of Chinese arts and crafts. See the detailed introduction of Wang Xisan.


In 1988, the second Chinese Arts and Crafts Master - Li Kechang.


In 1993, the 3rd Chinese Arts and Crafts Masters - Zhang Guangqing and Wu Songling.

In 1997, the 4th Chinese Arts and Crafts Master - Zhang Rucai.

In 2006, the 5th Chinese Arts and Crafts Masters - Liu Shouben, Zhang Tieshan, Wang Xiaocheng.

In 2012, the 6th Chinese Arts and Crafts Masters - Fu Guoshun, Wang Guangming


Here is the detailed introduction of Fu Guoshun.


In 2018, no one was selected in the field of inside painting.


In 2022, Huang San was newly elected as a Master of Chinese arts and crafts in the field of inside painted snuff bottle.


The detailed introduction of the snuff bottle masters of each school will be updated continuously. Welcome to subscribe to D.D Art to receive the latest news!

The Chinese Arts and Crafts Master is the national honorary title for every artist, and thus the selection standards are rigorous. This honor issued by China government is the dream of every snuff bottle artist. So far, there are only ten painters in the snuff bottle industry who have received this title. These painters are the familiar masters in the snuff bottle world, such as the founder of the Ji School - Wang Xisan, the representative of the Beijing School: Liu Shouben, the representative of the Yue school: Wu Songling, and the representative of the Lu school: Li Kechang and Zhang Guangqing and so on.Here is the basic introduction to the four primary schools of contemporary inside painting.


Zhang Guangqing: the representative of Lu school in inside painted snuff bottle. D.D Art