A vast array of accoutrements for smoking opium were made in China in the late Qing dynasty to accommodate the needs of users. Wealthier users had their own elaborately decorated pieces while those of lesser means used items provided by commercial opium dens. Small ceramic pillows were produced in China for these settings and often exported to commercial opium dens in overseas Chinese communities in North America or Europe. The pillows were earthenware or more commonly ceramic, providing a cold surface to counteract the warmth from smoking opium. One end of the pillow had an open-work motif design and the other an opening to for storage of valuable items. The pillow was placed on it side against the wall with the smoker laying on the floor or smoking platform his head resting on the pillow, to keep the contents safe. Intoxicated users would claim the ceramic was as soft as clouds during their experience.

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  • Antique Ceramic Pillow, China (3847JLS) $105

    H: 4″  W:  9.5″  D: 4.5 ” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This charming fanciful vintage underglaze blue and white porcelain pillow has added hand-painted green and red florals, fruits and vases in relief within framed geometric borders of blue cobalt oxide pigment. The top curves in the center to cradle the neck for comfort and flares outward. The front and back sides have charming painted relief images of vases on the front and fruit on the back. The top and bottom have seals applied to Chinese antiques indicating they were approved for export. There is a slight chip on the front, otherwise it is in excellent condition.


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