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Earthenware snuff jar, England, 1750-1800

Snuff jars were used as storage containers for snuff, which is powdered tobacco. This earthenware jar has the word “RAPPE” painted on it, which is the French name for snuff. The design also shows a Native American or a native of the West Indies smoking a pipe. On the other side there is a picture of a ship sailing towards the man, possibly looking for tobacco to trade. The practice of ‘taking snuff’ through the nose became common in Europe in the 1600s and was hugely popular throughout the 1700s. Snuff was well liked for its aroma, taste and nicotine boost. It was also believed to ward off colds and to be good for the relief of ear, nose and throat problems – as well as snoring.

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Glossary: smoking

A practice where a substance, most commonly tobacco is burned and the smoke inhaled. It is currently practiced by over one billion people worldwide (2008)

Glossary: snuff jar

a box or jar used for holding snuff, usually small enough to be carried in the pocket.

Glossary: snuff

Tobacco that has been finely powdered. Snuff is usually sniffed through the nose, or applied to the gums with a finger.

Glossary: earthenware

Pottery made of clay which is fired at a relatively low temperature. Earthenware is often semi-porous, meaning some liquid or air can pass through it. This can be altered by treating the pottery with a glaze.