Tobacco jar, wood carved in form of human skull, with ivory snake crawling through ear and eye sockets, 18th century(?), Japan
Made of boxwood, this tobacco box has been skilfully carved into the shape of a human skull, with an ivory snake slithering through the ear and eye sockets. Tobacco grew in popularity across the world from the 1600s onwards, favoured for its taste, aroma and nicotine boost.
The design is similar to a memento mori, used to remind a person of the shortness of life – the health risks now associated with smoking were not really known until the middle years of the twentieth century.
- Object Number:
- tobacco jar
- furnishing and equipment
- container - receptacle
- tobacco container
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.