Opium Lamps

Bamboo Forest Pavilion Lamp

This is a working-class opium lamp made in Bangkok. The base feels like brass, simple but not inelegant, and the glass reservoir allows one to see how much oil remains. The manufacture of these lamps continued well into the 20th century, since opium-smoking wasn’t outlawed in Thailand until 1959. The Chinese characters on the chimney suggest this may have been produced by Chinese makers who had migrated to Thailand.


The characters, 泰京 竹林閣 督辦, translated (thanks to r/translator on Reddit): Thai Capital – Made under the supervision of Pavilion in a Bamboo Forest

Travel Lamp

This is a small portable lamp that breaks down to fit inside a cylindrical case that screws onto the lamp base. Missing is a smaller cap that screws onto the reservoir above the wick holder to seal it for transport. On the base are inscribed the characters: 太尚 三合盛 (Likely the makers’ names.)


Gazing at Stars Lamp

This is a fine lamp, in paktong with complementary copper bands highlighting its form. The openwork on the base has birds and shou characters. The chimney is a modern replacement.


According to the stamp on the base (粵東 望斗 梁信和 石龍) this lamp was made in eastern Guangdong, with the brand name of Gazing at Stars, by Liáng Xìn Hé from the Shilong district of Pingdingshan.

Lamps with Faceted Glass

These three lamps, in brass with the occasional detail in paktong, all have glass chimneys with facets to them – similar to certain kinds of drinking glasses. The first one is rather large and imposing, the second has some fine detail around its base depicting birds, plants, and stars. The third lamp is a typical ‘bird cage’ style lamp – a common theme, but I can only speculate how these were used. Were they hung for illumination, or perhaps in den windows or doorways as a kind of subtle advertisement?