OPIUM WATER PIPES FROM CHINA
These handmade opium water pipes were made in the 19th and early 20th century in China. Opium was medicinally used for pain relief and inducing sleep, once Arab traders brought it from the Middle East to Asia in the 7th century. In the 1800s - 1900s, the opium water pipes were often used by blue-collar workers, the ones that worked hard labor, to relieve their body from the daily pain.
The opium water pipes come in many shapes and are made of various materials such as porcelain, ceramic or bones. In most cases, they are decorated with fascinating hand-painted designs or calligraphy that circles the entire piece. It has metal braces around the chamber and sometimes a charming handle for carrying.
At the top of the pipe, there lies a centre cone where the opium is placed as well as a smaller adjacent hole where a thin long metal stem would be inserted for inhaling the burning opium. The chamber would be partially filled with water to cool the smoke before it was inhaled.
Nowadays, opium water pipes are considered an artistic item and only used for decoration purposes.