Opium pillows such as these were produced in China and exported to overseas Chinese communities around the world. Often they were used in commercial opium dens. This example has an open-work 'cash' motif design at one end.
The other end has an aperture to permit items to be stored inside – typically the wallet of the smoker. Once the wallet was 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. This allowed the wallet to be kept more safely once the smoker was intoxicated by the opium.
This headrest or pillow is in excellent condition. There are no chips or cracks. There is some wear to the enamel of the orange border lines on the base and to one side. The pillow is about 6" long, 4-1/4" wide and 2-1/4" deep. I date this pillow late 19th C, but it may be earlier.
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