Tobacco pouch

Certain Qing dynasty (1644-1912) robes lacked pockets, making pouches useful accessories. But the opening of this tiny tobacco pouch is stitched closed, indicating it was purely ornamental. Chinese “double happiness” characters appear on the tassels, and both sides are embroidered with phoenixes (symbolizing the Han empress) and lotuses (symbolizing purity), suggesting it was worn by a woman.


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What does this purely ornamental pouch tell us about the value of tobacco (or the practice of smoking) in early 20th century China?

responded: Jun 27, 2010

Posted by Andrea Dixon

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This ornamental pouch would have glamorized tobacco in early 20th century China much like how cigarette smoking was glamorized in America during the 1940s-60s. My parents recall the use of pure gold cases to hold cigarettes by wealthy people in Canada during the 1960s.

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