Set of FOUR Antique animal "Opium Weights", probably Burmese; Collectable.

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Seller: everything_going (812) 100%, Location: East Kurrajong, NSW, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 303110709865 Vintage Set of 4 Antique animal "Opium Weights", probably Burmese; Collectable. Opium Weights from the 19th Century Western travellers and merchants coined the romantic term “opium weight.” In fact, these animal-shaped bronze weights were used for all types of goods in Asian countries. In remote areas, they are still in use today. Most come from Burma (today the Republic of the Union of Myanmar), but they were also common in Siam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. It is not known precisely how long these weights have been in use. Written sources go back as far as the 13th century. Opium weights come in a variety of sizes. Usually a set consisted of up to ten weights. The largest weighed a Viss—an ancient Indian unit, which corresponds to about 1.600 grams. A Viss had 100 Tical. Also belonging to a set were weights from 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 Tical, as well as ½, ¼, and 1/8 Tical. In the 19th century, even more weights were added, such as 10, 5, and 2 ½ Viss. Birds, elephants and mythical creatures on the base The weights consist of two parts: an octagonal or round base whose side walls converge towards the top, and an animal that stands on this base. In the Burmese weights, two birds are particularly common: the Hintha, a mythological bird in the shape of a duck; and the Karaweik, a crane. The most frequently encountered four-legged animal is the Toe, a mythical creature with a lion’s head, often with horns, with hooves, and the tail of a horse. Other animals, like turtles and horses are rare. In Siam and Laos, weights in the form of elephants were widespread. Often the weights bear a seal of approval from the government on their base. After the British seized power in Burma in 1885, the production of such weights ended and they were replaced by simple cylindrical weights made of cast iron. Colour: Bronze, Originating Region: Burmese, Era: 1800s, Material: Bronze, Original/Reproduction: Original

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