Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Shangas, Apr 12, 2024.

  1. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    I completely forgot I owned this. I don't even remember how I got it.

    I stumbled across it today in my collection while I was sorting out some stuff. To my knowledge, I've never shared it with the forum, so...here goes...

    This is my antique opium lamp. It's brass, with Chinese-style decorations around the sides. It was originally red-and-blue enameled. I don't think the chimney is original, but it fits around the lamp really well, regardless, with no wobbling or fear of falling off.

    I was curious to see if it still works, so I fashioned a wick out of some cotton string, filled the lamp with oil, poked the wick through the wick-holder, adjusted the height, reassembled the lamp, and set it on fire...

    lampium01.jpg lampium04.jpg lampium03.jpg


    Not bad, eh?
    stracci, kyratango, mirana and 9 others like this.
  2. laura9797

    laura9797 Well-Known Member

    Two nights ago we lost power due to high winds and rain. WOULD have LOVED to have had this pretty thing glowing!
    kyratango, johnnycb09 and judy like this.
  3. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    It wouldn't be glowing very much!! They weren't really designed to provide useful light.

    The point of an opium lamp was to provide a heat source to melt and vaporize the opium sap, so that it could be smoked.

    The reason for the low, narrow chimney is to concentrate as much heat from the lamp-flame as possible around the pipe-bowl, to warm up the opium inside.

    Here's what it looks like in the dark...

    kyratango, Bronwen, laura9797 and 3 others like this.
  4. sabre123

    sabre123 Well-Known Member

    Very cool piece. How did you even find that chimney?

    The last thing you want when you're high on opium is a bright light in your face!
    kyratango, laura9797 and johnnycb09 like this.
  5. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    The chimney came with the lamp. I don't think it's original, but it fits well enough, without wobbling or jiggling around. The original chimney was probably smashed or dropped (they're not fastened in place in any way, they just sit there) so this was simply a replacement.

    But it does what it's supposed to do - concentrate the heat, and channel it upwards towards the pipe.
    kyratango and laura9797 like this.
  6. sabre123

    sabre123 Well-Known Member

  7. laura9797

    laura9797 Well-Known Member

    So interesting! I have a bunch of Chinese opium pipes and some opium scales that I just unpacked. Would rather have the lamp :rolleyes:
    kyratango likes this.
  8. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    Pipes are relatively easy to find. Lamps are almost impossible, from what I've seen.

    What do your pipes look like?
    kyratango likes this.
  9. laura9797

    laura9797 Well-Known Member

    I'll have to take a couple pics when I get upstairs later.....
    kyratango likes this.
  10. kyratango

    kyratango Bug jewellery addiction!

    Awesome! The original chimneys are usually lacking:arghh: I've seen some with a thick beer glass drilled and cut to fit:joyful:

    @laura9797 oh, yes! Please show your pipes:woot:
    Any Jewelry and komokwa like this.
  11. Shangas

    Shangas Underage Antiques Collector and Historian

    I gave the lamp a light cleaning yesterday.

    The enamel is red and GREEN. God there was so much grime on there!! Haha!!
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