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Opium Weights and Other Animal-Shaped Weights

Authors:
Willis, R. J.
Herman, G.

ISBN:
978 616 451 005 0
Format:
Hardback
Pages:
256
List price(s):
29.95 USD
19.99 GBP

Publication date:
28 September 2018

Full description: 

The commonly used but incorrect term opium weight refers to the distinctive and highly collectible animal-shaped weights that originated in Burma and neighbouring regions. In fact, the weights were hardly used for opium, being found mainly in markets, initially for weighing bronze, silver and gold, but later for all sorts of commodities. Originating in the Burmese kingdoms of Bagan and Ava, their initial designs were drawn from animals linked with stories from the life of the Buddha, local religion and royal history, the most widely-found shapes being a squat duck (the hamsa, or divine bird bird), a mythical lion (chinthe, symbol of royal power) or an elephant. The more common types of opium weights can range in mass from a tiny 1.5 g to a very substantial 16 kg. Opium weights and other Animal-shaped Weights recounts the history of these fascinating objects with particular reference to Burma, outlines the do's and don'ts for collectors and sets the weights in context by also discussing the elephant weights of Thailand as well weights from Laos, India and Africa. With over 500 photographs, this book provides an excellent guide for the collector and a treasure trove of delightful imagery.

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