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mongolian snuff

betonentebetonente Member
edited September 2012 in Types of Snuff
a bit of information that might be new to some here:

mongolia has a still very active snuff-taking tradition.

i spend the (chinese lunar year) new year at a mongolian friends house (by he way, mongolian food can be great) and had a pack of gletscherprise with me. i expected this to be new and exciting, but instead it turned out theat nasasl snuff-taking was something everyone (about 15 mongolian friends of my friend) knew about. all tried my snuff and all told me that this (the gletscherprise) was very unlike any mongolian snuff. it seems that mongolian snuff is usually not mentholated, but still all seemed to enjoy the gletscherprise.

i was told that mongolian snuff is usually imported from india.
it is stored in bottles and taken with spoons (maybe the chinese tradition ist still alive in mongolia).
the good qualities are very pricey (about a months wage for a bottle, i was told)
it is offered mutually when visiting someones house. (at least older people still seem to practise this tradition)

needless to say i left the gletscherprise as a present.

so, dont forget your snuff if you happen to go to mongolia ^^



  • yes Felix
    china imports highest quantity of indian snuff.indian snuff in big quantity is exported to Mongolia from DELHI our capital by local exporters.
  • Seems like all the articles on Mongolia always refer to the snuff bottles and exchange ritual but never mention the snuff itself. Thanks for the info.
  • xsysxsys Member
    I love those snuff bottles. Especially tibet ones. I am lurking on eBay thinking of buying a one. Really nice stuff.
  • bobbob Member
    Yeah I've seen the tibetian snuff bottles several places on line for what seem decent prices.
  • xsysxsys Member
    Oh yes. The prices are really low, what makes me think it would be quite a nice bargain. Have someone any experience with them?
  • namrata,
    interesting. i wonder who is using the imported snuff, as all my chinese friendshave never heard about snuff (biyan, ) before and told me that this is not used anymore. ome or two guys told me that it was still in use with "minorities", very likely in the western parts of china.
    all my chinese books on tobacco (well... 2 books only in total) do also mention snuff-taking as a bygone era.
    whar kind of snuff does china import? and where and by whom is it used?

    btw i was referring to outer mongolia, that is the state of mongolia. not inner mongolia, which is a part of china.

    very interesting, thank you
  • According to Graeme Steel (Yahoo Snuffbox), a few elderly Han people still use locally produced snuff in China. He said that it's dry with a hint of spice and "pretty fiery stuff". Tibetans, as well as Mongolians, still take a lot of snuff.
  • Here's a decription of Snuff making in Tibet: Most Tibetans do not smoke, especially women, though some people sniff natag (snuff). Natag is made from finely ground tobacco, cardamon,cloves, and the clean ashes of juniper wood. A person will grind these ingredients for days sometimes. A small mortar and pestle are carried everywhere and grinding them becomes a habit. As a person travel, at any moment of leisure he can pull out a grinder and grind away. After it is well ground, natag is sifted carefully into a snuffbox or naru. Snuffboxes are sometimes small wooden boxes with tightly fitting lids, but most commonly made from a yakhorn. The wide part of the horn is cut straight and hollowed out. A small hole is made at the point, and lids make to cover both ends. Sometimes they also have very fine decorations carved or embossed on them. When someone wants some natag, he simply pulls out the containerand unplugs the lid from the pointed end. Then he gently taps some out in a little pile on his thumbnail. It is sniffed in, the brath is held for a few seconds, and then is let out through the open mouth. If one sees smoke like dust coming out of the mouth and the person's eyes are filled with tears, it is considered very good natag. A person will never take snuff in front of an altar, temple, monastery, nunnery, or even in front of monks, unless the monk takes snuff, which some do. People also smoke pipes. These pipes resemble short walking sticks, and they are popular among the nomads. From Food in Tibetan Life by Rinjing Dorje 1985 Banyan Press
  • Here is a good pick of a tibetan snuff horn with a nice description.

    Tibetan Snuff Horn
  • TroutstrokerTroutstroker Member
    edited April 2008 PM
    Here is a cheap powder/snuff horn if someone is interested in something like that.

    Powder/Snuff Horn
  • bobbob Member
    Never thought of useing a powder horn for snuff. It does have the convient strap. God if I did use a powder horn for snuff I'd have to use it at the flintlock range to confuse the two or three people shooting the their flint locks (yes there is a specfic range for them here and no I don't know if it's the law or just more practical)
  • bobbob Member

    Thats cool.
  • Snuff horns even turned up in England: Victorian horn snuff flask
  • I like these 2 snuff horn/mulls in uk ebay

    Horn 1
    Horn 2
  • Come to think of it, Dixon's used to make a copper snuff flask that was identical to a pistol flask, complete with a 12 grain spout, decorated with a tobacco leaf. They were even more expensive than their powder flasks. I've only seen one, and that was back in 1990. Damned antique dealer claimed it was over a century old and wanted $165 for it. The flask was almost new, without a scratch.
  • Its probably still sitting at that antique store snuffgrinder!!
  • bobbob Member
    it's probably almost 20 years old now. :)
  • In this documentary you can see snufftaking in three separate scenes.  Although it's long it's worth checking out: 

    It looks like the monk uses a device to snuff out of then hands it off to the other guy, but towards the end of the program they use a snuff bottle to pass around and sniff from the finger tips
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