Driven by European colonialism, opium smoking had devastating effects on all classes of society in China and neighbouring countries in the 19th century before it became fashionable among Western intellectuals. Wealthy smokers left the delicate preparation of the opium pipe to the attendants and settled comfortably on a special bed to smoke.
Opium smoker, Java, 1879. Alfred Bertrand collection © MEG Inv. ETHPH 411709
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