Lantsha scripts in relief decorate the round panels of this glass bottle. The front panel displays the “ten powerful ones,” a symbol that represents the essence of the Kalachakra doctrine of Tibetan Buddhism. It consists of the flame, sun, moon and seven syllables woven together, resting on a lotus throne and surmounted by stylized flames. The reverse shows another seed syllable. On the shoulders mask with mock ring handles, beneath which are two raised “C” shapes enclosing a raised boss. The brass stopper is of lotus petals enclosing a coral.
This auspicious symbol is used to decorate Tibetan and Mongolian monasteries and on sutra covers and charm boxes. As the bottle is larger than usual, and the fact that it is decorated with such a symbol indicates that this was made for the Tibetan and Mongolian markets, where snuff-taking was widely popular during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
Bottle Snuff bottle
Qing dynasty, Beijing work
H: 10 cms.