antique opium bed - circa 1760
before the communist takeover in 1949 opium smoking in China could be found at all levels of society. opium smoking venues reflected the economic status of the smoker. for the wealthy, a private smoking room in the home was fitted out with rich trappings, including an opium bed, and decorated with calligraphic scrolls bearing auspicious sayings. for the poor, a public opium den was the only venue, where for a few Chinese coins, low-grade opium could be smoked on woven bamboo mats and amidst simple surroundings. the British introduced opium to the Chinese from India to offset the trade imbalance with Britain and to make the Chinese subservient.
87"w x 41"d x 45"h