19th Century French Sabot Bird Snuffbox

19th Century French Sabot Bird Snuffbox

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Paris, France
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About this item

Unique walnut-tree snuffbox, carved as a bird but the bottom part also features a sabot (a kind of simple shoe, shaped and hollowed out from a single block of wood, traditionally worn by French and Breton peasants).
The engraving work is remarkable, especially for the feathers of the bird all over its back. The lid is made by the wings and the tail.

Inhaling snuff, or snuffing, as it is also called, was first witnessed by a European missionary in 1493, in the new world of Christopher Columbus, among Haiti’s indigenous Taino. Until then, tobacco had been unknown to Europeans, but its use spread like a weed on the continent during the 1500s. By the second half of the 17th century, ornate boxes started being produced to keep the precious powder dry.
By 1740, specialized artisans took over the production of these ornate "tabatières".


W12.0 x H5.0 x D4.0 cm



Wear condition


Date of manufacture


Place of origin



Carved Walnut


19th Century


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Seller is VAT registered


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