Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Need some information on an Opium Traveling Box

In Asian > Chinese Antiques > Show & Tell.
Chinese Antiques657 of 857Likely 19th Century Qing Guangxu Porcelain BowlChinese urn
Love it
Like it

BHock45BHock45 loves this.
blunderbuss2blunderbuss2 loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 8 years ago

    (94 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.

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

    Chinese Antiques
    See all
    Large Antique Chinese / China Porcelain Vase 18th - some damages
    Large Antique Chinese / China Porce...
    Antique Chinese / China Porcelain Celadon Blue & white Vase
    Antique Chinese / China Porcelain C...
    Chinese 18th C. 6190g Bronze Gilt Cloisonn Moonflask Vases Asian China Estate
    Chinese 18th C. 6190g Bronze Gilt C...
    Large Antique Chinese / China Porcelain Vase 18th - some damages
    Large Antique Chinese / China Porce...
    See all


    1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 8 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, 8 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 Rogueroman, 8 years ago
      Thank you for your response. I just found a photo of an almost identical piece at 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, 8 years ago
      Thanks rogueoman, I found it.
      I stand corrected.

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.