Colourful opium damper
Every opium smoker knows that opium smoke tastes best in a bamboo pipe with a damper in Chinese stoneware. Yet there are countless variants in China, simply because it was cheaper to buy or nicer to look at. This opium pipe bowl is a good example of an aesthetically attractive object. It shows a spherical shape completely thrown from clay, the stem or socket in the same technique. The potter used a white-baking, soft and porous clay, more closely related to creamware than to pipe clay. A simple decoration was then carved into the leather-dry pipe bowl with smooth lines. In this case a circling ribbon with two symbolic objects. Subsequently, multi-colour glaze was applied whereby the ribbon with the gourd and the bamboo were coloured in pink, yellow and green glaze against a solid blue background. This gives a colourful result, technically better known as wu ts'ai or translated five-color glaze. Another interesting aspect about this opium bowl is that the origin is known. It was donated in 1892 to the Institution of Education in the Language, Land and Ethnology of the Dutch East Indies. This predominantly didactic collection was transferred in 1911 to the Ethnographic Museum Delft, the later Nusantara museum. With the closure of that museum, this special opium pipe bowl with its accompanying bamboo stem moved to our collection, where it forms a valuable addition as an atypical opium damper.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 22.586bisPermalink