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Subject:Chinese Opium Pipe Silver? Marks?
Posted By: Richard Wed, Jul 13, 2022 IP: 2a00:23c4:ce21:8801:

Please can anyone help me identify these marks on a Chinese opium pipe.

Subject:Re: Chinese Opium Pipe Silver? Marks?
Posted By: RENNIE HARDY Thu, Jul 14, 2022

The impressed markings, both shown upside down, appear to be identical, the one with four-characters being "北京開記" (Bei jing kai ji) and the two-characters being "銀白" (Yin bai). They are translatable as "Beijing established mark" and "Silvery white". The pipe stem isn't shown, but if it also is made of metal the item may have been made for the tourist trade, because the metal would transmit an uncomfortable amount of heat from the alcohol-burning opium lamp. However, the bowl shown has signs of legitimate wear and the markings struck into it resemble others seen on silver products of the late 19th and early 20th century.

A more typical opium pipe with ceramic bowl is shown in the below images. The bowl is late 19th-early 20th century, and the bamboo stem probably is early 20th century. Ivory mouthpieces were used on some early pipes as they also had a cooling effect, although the one seen here is a late 20th century carving.

Best regards,

Bill H.

Subject:Re: Chinese Opium Pipe Silver? Marks?
Posted By: Richard Fri, Jul 15, 2022

Thank you for your detailed response, this is very helpful. The opium pipe is all made of metal. | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |