An enamel-decorated opium pipe, recently donated to the University of Idaho, rests next to one made of bamboo as Priscilla Wegar (Inlander photo: Eric Francavilla)
Since September, dozens of brown packages from destinations like Laos, Thailand and California have found their way to the University of Idaho’s Asian American Comparative Collection. Their contents — flute-like tubes of wood, bone, glass, metal and stone — tell the history of a taboo subject in Asian culture: opium smoking. Steven Martin, a 50-year-old former guidebook writer and self-proclaimed leading expert on opium paraphernalia and smoking, donated his 1,000-piece collection to the university this fall. Martin, a former opium user, doesn’t advocate using the drug, but he wants to share knowledge about Asian culture through the artifacts/Eric Francavilla, Inlander. More here.
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