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Brass tobacco box, Europe, 1801-1880

To open this brass tobacco box, one had to solve the puzzle of the locks. Perhaps the owner was concerned some might get stolen if he wasn’t careful. Ironically, given the health problems that would later be associated with tobacco, the front is engraved with the figure of Asklepios, the Greek and Roman god of healing and medicine, and his symbol, a snake entwined around a rod. Tobacco boxes were very personal items and came in a variety of shapes, sizes and decorations.

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Glossary: tobacco box

Small box used for carrying smoking or chewing tobacco, especially those with unattached fitted covers. For similar box having a hinged lid instead of an unattached, fitted cover, use "snuffbox."

Glossary: tobacco

No description.