Opium trade, in Chinese history, the traffic that developed in the 18th and 19th centuries in which Western countries, mostly Great Britain, exported opium grown in India and sold it to China. The British used the profits from the sale of opium to purchase such Chinese luxury goods as porcelain, silk, and tea, which were in great demand in the West.
This relief carved porcelain bottle represents one used during the 1800's to transport and use the drug. Mostly used in the form of snuff, sometimes Opium was smoked or desolved into teas and other food items for consumption.
By 1906, however, the importance of opium in the West’s trade with China had declined, and the Qing government was able to begin to regulate the importation and consumption of the drug. In 1907 China signed the Ten Years’ Agreement with India, whereby China agreed to forbid native cultivation and consumption of opium on the understanding that the export of Indian opium would decline in proportion and cease completely in 10 years. The trade was thus almost completely stopped by 1917.
Chinese Opium bottle Relief carved