Late eighteenth – early nineteenth century Large Canton tortoiseshell snuff box.


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A late eighteenth – early nineteenth century large Canton tortoiseshell snuff box.

This rare carved tortoiseshell snuff box was produced in Canton, China towards the end of the eighteenth century or the early part of the nineteenth. It is likely to have entered Europe through France, as Canton was a major Port for trade with the French at this period and sailors waiting for ships to be loaded often acquired such items as keepsakes. This fine example shows a boat coming up a river into a garden, with trees figures and pavilions, framed in a delicate carved rope and bamboo outer edge. The sides and base are also profusely carved with similar decoration. It has the cased hinge usual for the period.

This rare and fine example of Canton carved tortoiseshell is 8.5 cm long, 6 cm wide and stands 2 cm high. (Measurements approximate). It is in fine condition, showing light wear appropriate to its age and substance. There is a very minor crack to the inside of one corner, likely to have been there at the time of carving. It has no damage and no restoration.