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.
All objects on this page are part of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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