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: Sep 21, 2011

Posted by Jin Yoon

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I am not sure if it is the value of tobacco or the practice of smoking that is important, but it seems to me that this pouch is yet another way that people used to emphasize their wealth and fortune. Tobacco is considered more of a luxury than it is now and the fact that they carried it in a beautifully ornamented pouch must have been something many people would be envious about.

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