Opium pipes have been in wide use by the Chinese from around the early 1700's till 1949. The Chinese found that smoking opium was the most efficient method of using opium with little waste.
They developed a pipe that vaporized the opium when held directly over an opium oil lamp. The making of pipes quickly became an art with high demand for high quality pipes using the finest materials available. Silver, precious and semi precious stones, mythical characters,Buddhist and Taoist symbols and poems decorate the saddles. Elephant ivory, water buffalo horn, bamboo, silver, bronze, tortoise shell and even porcelain for the stems. The ends were made from the finest ivory and jade.
Chinese make beautiful water pipes that are used for smoking a very strong yellow compressed tobacco and are used today along with large bamboo bong pipes. Opium has to be vaporized to release the morphine which would be absorbed in the water. In other words, water pipes are made for smoking tobacco, not opium.
Additional photos can be supplied by request.
These pipes have been purchased during my extensive travel in rural China,Thailand and Burma over the last 12 yrs. They are all of Chinese origin.
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