Archives for posts with tag: opium

opium scaleL200xW90xD250mm, Thailand

The container is beautifully painted lacquer.
Inside is a scale for measuring opium,
with the weights on one side and the opium on the other.


stationary box

W250xD140xH110mm, China

While researching on other items relating to opium, I realised there has been a mistake.

This item as previously published (2013/10/23) as being a stationary box.  Apology!  It is actually a box for storing the opium kit.

Similar box can be found in the Brooklyn Museum Collection.


pillowpillowW120xD130xH180mm, China

This pair of very architectural objects are in fact a pair of ceramic pillows!  They have a running glaze which is typical of the Shi Wan kiln,  used for smoking opium, the airing holes which forms a pattern of an antique Chinese coin are used for ventilation, helping to keep the pillow cool.  I probably would not be able to be parted from the Tempurpedic but these would make lovely book ends.

Opium Scale

L180xD90xH20mm, Thailand

For the Asian Folkcraft Collection, we have another tool – an opium scale.  This old scale is neatly set inside a teakwood case with carving on both side.

The scale is to be completed with a set of opium weights.

 L380xW100xD20mm, China

This was an opium scale, I believed that this is only a bolder name for a scale of measuring items that are small and expensive (precious was the original choice of word but would be a wrong one if this were indeed an opium scale). The scale packed neatly into a custom carved out wooden case with the pivot rod is made out of elephant bone.
For how a Chinese scale works, please see the earlier post Scale which fits in a bamboo case.

DIA80xH80mm, China

Nowadays spittoon has almost disappear, at least in Hong Kong, there only place you might still be able to see one are in the old tea houses (e.g. the famous Luk Yu Tea House), however, they are used more as a rubbish bin or at most to gather used tea, so luckily you will not see them in action.  Before my research for this post, I have always seen spittoon as a very Chinese object, it is very surprising to find out that spittoon was originated from the UK and the USA and that it was a popular object in the 19th century at places where men gathers.  The main use for spittoon in the West was for spitting of the chew tobacco, when it was imported to China, it was used as a  receptacle for spit (usually of a larger size).  This small spittoon was one of the accessories for smoking opium, it would have been placed on the opium bed within reach of the user.

W50XD40XH70mm, China

This copper-nickle silver boxes are used in the late Qing dynasty for storing opium.  On the top of the box is a button for releasing the cover and also for attaching a string which can be tied to the waist.  The boxes are well used and worn, as if they were something treasured by the owner.  Knowing the history, its kind of sad looking at them, but at the same time they are a sharp reminder of what drugs can do to a person and a country.

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