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Need some information on an Opium Traveling Box

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Chinese Antiques198 of 408Chinese Vase. Kangxi nian zhi. 1662-1722. ?Chinese urn
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Posted 2 years ago

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Rogueroman
(46 items)

I have an old metal opium traveling box. It is made out of a white metal with copper edging around the base and between the top and bottom part of the box. It has a riveted and hinged lid. The front is decorated with four bat motifs and the bat body on the lower right swings right or left to reveal a lock. The interior has 5 receptacles; a lamp with wick (which is missing the glass chimney) and 4 removable covered compartments. Two of the boxes measure 1" x 1" x 1 1/4" high and have open fretwork. One has a copper inset behind the fretwork so I am guessing that is where the opium went. The waste receptacle measures 1 1/2" x 2" x 1 1/4" high. The long narrow container that fits at the back measure 4 7/8" long x 1" wide x 1 1/4" high. It has two bail wire handles on top and it measures 5" across x 3 1/2" deep x 2 1/2" high. It comes with the key. The metal shows some spotting in areas, but I have done nothing (and won't ) to clean it.

I am hoping to identify the age of this neat old piece and if it was made for the European or American market. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

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Comments

  1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    I think this is actually a 'writing box' rather than an opium box. The long rectangular box is for the pens. The two smaller boxes on the left of picture 2 are for knibs and chalk dust. The dust was used to dry he wet ink. The larger boxes are for an ink well and the other is a taper to melt wax for sealing envelopes.
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    The form seems to imitating a two tiered drawer. The four escutcheons, one of which houses the lock entry, are a class Georgian shape that you would normally see on a chest of drawers.
    I think I have seen similar pieces that are reproductions of Georgian writing boxes.

    Where's Hems303?

    He will know for sure.
  3. Rogueroman, 2 years ago
    Thank you for your response. I just found a photo of an almost identical piece at http://www.pijpenkabinet.nl/PijpenkabinetP-E%20opium.html which is the website of the Dutch Museum of pipe smoking and collecting. It has it under the Opium collection but it gives no information regarding age, country of origin etc.,
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 2 years ago
    Thanks rogueoman, I found it.
    http://www.pijpenkabinet.nl/Pijpenkabinet/P-E%20opium.html
    I stand corrected.

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