The Art and Ritual of the Chinese Tradition
by Peter Lee
A detailed study of the history and usage of
· Explores the use of opium as a major healing herb and
a popular relaxant
· Details the opium practices adhered to in the Chinese
· Includes information on the suppression of opium by the
modern pharmaceutical industry
Opium. The very sound of the word conjures images of secret
rooms in exotic lands, where languid smokers lounge dreamily in
a blue haze of fragrant poppy smoke, inhaling from long bamboo
pipes held over the ruby flame of the jade lamp. Yet today very
little accurate information is available regarding a substance
that for 300 years was central to the lives of millions of people
throughout the world.
In Opium Culture Peter Lee presents a fascinating
narrative that covers every aspect of the art and craft of opium
use. Starting with a concise account of opium's long and colorful
history and the story of how it came to be smoked for pleasure
in China, Lee offers detailed descriptions of the growing and
harvesting process; the exotic inventory of tools and paraphernalia
required to smoke opium as the Chinese did; its transition from
a major healing herb to a narcotic that has been suppressed by
the modern pharmaceutical industry; its connections to the I Ching,
Taoism, and Chinese medicine; and the art, culture, philosophy,
pharmacology, and psychology of this longstanding Asian custom.
Highlighted throughout with interesting quotes from literary and
artistic figures who were opium smokers, such as Jean Cocteau,
Pablo Picasso, Herman Melville, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the
text is studded with gems of long forgotten opium arcana and dispels
many of the persistent myths about opium and its users.
232 pages 6" x 9"