Chinese opium pillow finely decorated with peacocks, crack, 19th century
Opium pillows were both owned by wealthy smokers as well as commercial opium dens. The cold of the porcelain counteracted the warmth with which the opium filled its users. The pillow would sit on its side with one end having an open-work motif design and the other end with an opening to permit items to be stored inside (typically the wallet of the smoker). Once the items were inside, the open end of the pillow would be pushed up against the wall while the smoker lay on the floor or smoking platform resting his head on the pillow, which kept the contents safe once the smoker was intoxicated by the opium.
Size: 5 ½ x 4 ¾ x 2 ½ in