China is a land of many curiosities, and you’ll most surely agree once you discover the inside-painted snuff bottle. Incredibly, these bottles, made of glass, crystal or agate, are painted on the inside using a curved brush. Snuff bottles were popular at a time when tobacco was prohibited (during the Qing dynasty). They were used to store snuff tobacco, which was considered an exception for its purpose as a remedy for certain ailments. The popularity of snuff bottles for purely practical purposes dissipated in the early 20th century, however, collectors today actively seek them out for their historical value. While in Beijing, look out for copies at Hongqiao Market.
Update: June 10, 2021