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For those of you unfamiliar with snuff, they are finely grounded tobaccos, and used as herbal medicines when smelled. In ancient times, they were quite popular in China, and snuff bottles became a work field of art. Even today, traditional Chinese paintings inside enjoy popularity home and abroad.
And I was glad to personally visit Liu Shouben, one of the 36 best artists specializing in snuff bottle paintings. His studio is located in Bai Gong Fang, also known as the Handicraft Museum.
The snuff bottle paintings inside are works by Mr. Liu and his students. As Mr. Liu focus on local flavors, he typically depicts the local life and landscapes of Beijing. His works are characterized by their delicate color, which brings out the spirit of the city.
I took special notice to the paintbrush. It is in fact just a hair stuck to a piece of thin bamboo. The reason for this is because the paintings need to be painted inside the bottle, in a reverse manner. This way, it will show up beautifully through the transparent bottles.
A snuff bottle painting can last hundreds of years without any change in color, and can be treasured for generations. Prices of items in the studio range from RMB 10,000 to RMB 30,000
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