Ornate Chinese opium pipes and other exotic drug paraphernalia of the 19th century
A vintage artistic interpretation of two people enjoying some opium to help get you in the proper mood for this post.
In 2013 the first ever exhibition to feature antique drug paraphernalia from China went on display at Maggs Brothers Ltd. bookstore in London’s Mayfair district. It’s a wonder it took so long, considering Britain’s long love affair with opium.
The collection belonged to Julio Mario Santo Domingo Braga, who died in 2009. Referred to in size as immense, Santo Domingo’s treasury of drug paraphernalia is said to contain approximately 3,000 different items, from “dream sticks” (a common name for an opium pipe) to jars for storing the drug, carved from a variety of different materials including ebony, bone, silver, rhinoceros horns, porcelain, and ivory. There were even a few pipes in the collection that were meant for the itinerant opium addict which could be taken apart to make traveling with them easier. Apparently, Santo Domingo’s obsession with building a drug library of sorts ran so deep that he spent most of his life traveling the world amassing items he deemed worthy of being included in his growing collection. The vast majority of Santo Domingo’s opium implements are now archived at Harvard.
I’ve also posted a few other items I found on various auction sites, such as opium candles and other implements that the opium user relied on to get high, most of which can be had for a few hundred bucks if you’re looking to cultivate your own personal drug paraphernalia compendium. A plastic bottle from CVS just isn’t classy enough for your Oxy stash, is it?
An ivory storage box for opium from Santo Domingo’s collection, with an erotic carving.
Vintage opium pipe.
This tray was used to carry around the many various tools and accessories used for smoking opium.
Opium tools from the collection.
An ornately carved opium pipe.
A hand-painted opium bowl.
Another opium bowl, carved in ivory.
A small opium lamp. The lamp was used to prepare and smoke opium.
Another opium pipe from Santo Domingo’s large collection of opium paraphernalia.
A vintage opium candle.
Bone and metal opium pipe.
An opium pipe with a bowl made of jade.
Another beautiful opium lamp.
A vintage jar for storing opium.
An opium kit with a pipe made of wood and jade.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Smoker’s Delight: Vintage photographs of opium dens
Ethyl alcohol and opium: Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator, 1863
Never Mind the Bhangra Here’s Opium Jukebox