The opium habit

One of the most special ways of smoking is the use of opium. Opium gummy is harvested from the poppy-head of the Papaver Somniferum. During the smoke ceremony, the opium is not burned but only vaporised by heating it above an oil lamp, which requires a lot of experience. For smoking opium a special pipe is used having a damper with a very tiny bowl connected to the hollow space underneath, where the damp will condense. The smoker inhales the smoke trough a long stem of about half a meter.

Chinese opium pipes often are fine examples of applied art, merging craftsmanship and beauty. Their shapes, the perfect balance of the elements and the subtle combination of materials make them so attractive. Decorations are scarcely applied and always added in a particular way.

Next to the opium pipe all sorts of related paraphernalia exist, like lamps, needles to prepare the opium, spatulas to clean the bowls, but also containers to store and even trays to bring the various smoke utensils together. Rich opium smokers used a set of matching items, but more commonly various styles of objects were used next to each other. Many opium smokers soon got addicted and lost all their possessions in exchange for opium. By the time they died nothing more than some humble smoke utensils remained.

More info: Opium & Opium Smoking.

opium pipe in bamboo with ivory eindstukken e and silver saddle, China, 1870-1900 opium pipe wiht tortoishell and brass saddle, the bowl in Chinese stone ware, China, 1880-1900
opium pipe made from bamboo with brass saddle and ceramic damper, China, 1870-1900
colossal opium pipe in ivory with worked silver saddle and ivory damper, China, 1880-1920 slender bamboo opium pipe with brass end in which an unusual square yi-xing damper is placed, China, 1890-1910
opium pipe in yellow pakton or Chinese brass, simple saddle and light brown damper, China, 1890-1910 short opium pipe in cloisonnee with a black flowerdrill on a turkoise field, China, 1890-1910
three opium pipes the dampers being placed in a human fist, China, 1880-1910
opium pipe from carved bone the saddle in pewter with on the top a ceramic bowl, China, 1890-1910
ivory opium pipe with the base of the bowl showing a fist, China, 1890-1910
black stoneware bowl in a jade holder in the shape of a fist, China, 1880-1900
pipe bowl with sang-de-boeuf glaze on a calebash shaped buffalo horn stemend, China, 1880-1900
the finger support shaped like a with spreaded wings, China, 1870-1890
the so called wafür, the opium pipe with bottle shaped bowl, Persia, 1880-1910
travel pipe in three parts in dark coloured buffalo horn, China, 1880-1900
remarkable opium pipe in bamboo fitted with peewter, Sumatra, Batak, 1870-1900
saddle in white metal with open worked parts, on the top semi-precious stones, China, 1900-1920 silver saddle the decoration accentuated with colourfull enamel, China, 1880-1900
e,bossed silver saddle with along the edges five .. with spreaded wings, China, 1880-1900
globular opium bowl with geometricale pattern around the bowl opening, China, 1860-1890
socalled farmers opium pipe with a simple ceramic bottle as bowl, Thailand, 1930-1950
opium damper of Chinese stone ware with decoration in contrasting ceramic colours, China, 1860-1890
beautiful eightsided pipe bowl with elegant calligraphic letterint of a poem, Yixing, China, 1870-1900 caramel coloured damper with a famous literary part, China, 1860-1880 opium damper with calligraphic text, the bowl is made of copper and is shaped like a blower in bloom, Hunan, China, 1870-1900
opium damper with cyrillic writing, Hunan, China, 1860-1880 six sided opium damper in stoneware decorated with still life with pots and vases with flowers, Hunan, China, 1870-1890 unusual pipe bowl with the yin and yang decoration surrounded by the eight trigrammes, China, 1880-1900
opium damper with two figures, the signature in the aiw, China, 1850-1870 remarkable colour of stone ware showing a mythological animal, the hart on de earth, Hunan, China, 1890-1910 beautifull decoration of a bamboo with on the left the signature of the maker, China, 1860-1890
rare figural opium damper representing a sitting person, China, 1870-1900 figural opium pipe damper of the farmers' type of pipe, Hunan, China, 1880-1900 rare opium pipe bowl carved of green and white jade, China, 1880-1910
porcelain pipe bowl painted in blue with traditional motifs, China, 1880-1900 opium damper of blanc de Chine, the decoration inspired on the chrysanthemum, China, 1860-1890 porcelain opium damper with in relief erotic scene under a blossoming tree, China, 1900-1920
characteristic yixing bowl with enamel painting and a frog in reliëf, China, 1890-1910 ceramic opium bowl with four colour glaze and signature on the stem, China, 1820-1880
bowl stand decorated with mother of pearl inlaywork, China, 1880-1900 simple bowl stand with wu'tsai pipe bowls, China, 1850-1870 hardwood stand with inlays of mother of pearl meant for five opium dampers and an opium container, China, 1870-1900
silver opium needles with decorated handle and a sharp end, China, 1880-1900 three palettes to prepare the opium incorporating holes to clean the needles, China, 1890-1920
opium tray with three compartiments showing pipes and smokers tools, China, 1880-1900
set of two scrapers to clean the interior of the damper, China, 1900-1915 silver dros box with a pipe bowl on the top, China, 1880-1900
nicely decorated silver handle with iron bowl scraper, China, 1880-1900
brass bowl scraper with decorated handle, China, 1880-1900
early type of opium lamp with lead base and glass reservoir and cover, China, 1850-1900
an opium lamp made from a jade archers ring mounted in brass, China, 1880-1910
pakton and cloisonne opium lamp to make the opium vaporize, China, 1870-1910
unusual opium lamp with in blue a painted square base, China, 1870-1890
opium lamp of later type, a cage protects the beakable lamp glass, China, 1900-1920
opium lamp the glass protected by a decorated brass cover with a chain for hanging, China, 1900-1920
opium lamp with a cage to hang the item, China, 1890-1920
opium box from cloisonne work with decoration of the hundred antiquities, China, 1890-1920 opium box from pakton with cloisonne lid, China, 1890-1920 pakton opium box, the outer part with decoration of bamboo, China, 1880-1900
finely embossed opium box with flourishing plants round the side, a zodiac token on the lid, China, 1880-1900
opium box with ajour cover hiding an erotic scene, China, 1880-1910
nicely embossed silver opium box met with roundgoing decoration, China, 1860-1900
two opiumboxes, one with a Chinese coin, the other in buffalo horn, Cina, 1880-1910
silver opium box with buffalo horn innerbox, a Chinese coin decorates the flat lid, China, 1890-1910
Chinese brass and copper dish for serving fresh opium balls to smokers, China, 1900-1920
the ceramic head of neck support offers refreshment in the hot den, China, 1870-1900
head support for the opium smoker in ceramic with artglaze, China, 1880-1900
pakton travel box for the opium smoker with a lamp and boxes for all sorts of purposes, China, 1900-1920
opium box with three trays, the one in the middle for the lamp and various boxes, China, 1880-1900
travel set for the opium taker wth two hings for easy transport, China, 1880-1900 the main tray from the travel box with in the centre the opium lamp, China, 1880-1900
opium trunk for pipes and other opium paraphernalia, China, 1900-1920
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