Opium pipe with ivory mouthpiece

Opium pipe, China, late 19th century, Lacquer, ivory, metal.
Private collection

In the 19th century, in order to reduce their enormous trade deficit, the English would import opium into China—and on a massive scale. Queen Victoria seemed to ignore an appeal made on behalf of the Chinese Emperor for an export ban on the drug.
Global free trade, which the Meissen porcelain painters had rendered so idyllically, would henceforth be imposed through military force.

The opium pipe was brought back as a souvenir from the “Boxer Rebellion” the North German Oberbottlier – who also owned the pewter cups –made himself while in China.