History – Early Qing Dynasty

Jiangnan – Early Qing

Much of the appreciation of the minang flower was aesthetic, but brought to new heights in such a poetically charged environment. Gao Shiqi (1642–1704) describes scenes of , preferring the name yingsu for the poppy flower:

Beyond all the pavilions of hillsides and riverbanks there grows the yingsu flower. There are scarlet and pink, dark and plain purple, pale pinkish grey and light yellow; pure white and light green. One branch has thousands of calyxes and they are clustered together like trimmed silk. Legend has it that in the evening of the mid-autumn festival, girls should wear beautiful clothes and sow the seeds, for the blossoms of next year will be so luxurious and dazzling that nothing else in the whole world can match them.

The extraction of opium from the poppy was growing more sophisticated as well. Fang Yizhi (1611–94) described the process:

‘When it is a green bud, use a needle to prick it ten or so times. Its liquid will come out; store it in china and use paper to seal the top. Expose it for twenty-seven days; then it becomes opium. It can control nocturnal emission.’

The lancing of pods to extract latex and the storing and aging of it in airtight containers are key steps in the process for making chandu (opium prepared for smoking) that would evolve as the standard throughout East Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries.



check if this is timed right:

mid-1600’s : By this time, recipes for using opium as an aphrodisiac were much simpler than the endangered animal soup experimented with in the Ming dynasty. For example: “Take one weight of opium, mix it with polished round-grained rice into 3 pellets. Take one at a time. Don’t take too much. Avoid sour things, and things with vinegar, otherwise the bowels will hurt… it is rarely used today except in the art of sex, it is really the best when it comes to controlling nocturnal emission and enhancing performance.”


Tobacco and Tea: Setting the Stage for Opium Smoking

The arrival of tobacco and the sophisticated cultures of tea and snuff bottles are important to the history of opium-smoking. Tobacco’s naturalization as an ordinary staple and the rapid and wide adoption of smoking were patterns that opium would shortly follow. And the aesthetic, romantically charged heights that tea preparation and consumption reached, along with the beauty of artfully designed snuff bottles, set models for the rituals and paraphernalia of opium-smoking.


-bubble tea thing: maybe like 1650?

snuff bottles swept the Qing court

best snuff bottles: during Qianlong’s reign, 1735 1796




-town/market economies, cash cropping, facilitated spread of tobacco cultivation and consumption

-from introduction to self-production and export, naturalization in Fujian took less than a hundred years

-attempts to punish/ban it, including making it punishable by death, were unsuccessful

-became naturalized and incorporated into daily life

-finely decorated snuff bottles – artistic precedent for the detail on opium pipes

-opium smoking would also inherit characteristics from Chinese manners of taking tea and food -tea, discovered in ancient times, had grown to a highly refined consumer culture by the end of the Ming dynasty.

– the process and careful selection in cooking and making tea would be reflected in the various qualities of chandu and the particular art of preparing pipes – tea sets were valued and made ornate, as opium pipes would be