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Author Topic: Chinese Lampwork Glass Meth Pipes in The Shanghai Public Security Museum  (Read 1298 times)

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Offline Mosquito

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Last weekend I visited the Shanghai Public Security Museum (上海公安博物馆). As a glass lover, one display I found to be of particular interest was their collection of drug paraphernalia which included some rather delicate lampworked pipes.

Given the illicit nature of their use, these are obviously not the kind of things you'd expect to find in regular museums or in books on contemporary Chinese glass, but, putting their use aside, the objects themselves look rather charming and are interesting in terms of technique and design. The quality of work ranges from fairly crude to quite sophisticated. As the pieces were behind glass I couldn't measure them, but I'd estimate the examples shown were about 3 -4 inches tall.

It's sad to see that crystal meth use is a problem even here in China with its strict anti-drug laws, but I felt these should be documented as they are the kind of items which are rarely seen and which could pose a puzzle if found in the future - especially if incomplete (as some below are).

While there's not much else glass-related in the collection, I can highly recommend the museum as entry is free 8) and they have a large amount of material on display over 5 floors (including one or two rather gruesome exhibits...).

Offline Ivo

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Re: Chinese Lampwork Glass Meth Pipes in The Shanghai Public Security Museum
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2015, 12:53:32 PM »
Water pipes, spliff holders and other drug implements in lampworked glass have been widely available in the Amsterdam red light district for many years. I could never imagine who would buy these things - not drug users themselves. American tourists?

Offline Mosquito

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Re: Chinese Lampwork Glass Meth Pipes in The Shanghai Public Security Museum
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2015, 01:43:19 PM »
In China I suspect these are for use (these examples are supposedly evidence recovered by police) but probably for the 土豪 'tuhao' (nouvau riche) market only. There's no real tourist market for these kind of things here as drug use is still much frowned upon and drug production and use is very much underground (though of course there are a lot of clandestine workshops producing meth and other drugs if you know where to look). However, as China has become more wealthy, we've more and bored rich kids who have created a new domestic demand and drug use has become more common. Another growth market has been middle class housewives in the richer cities who have been known to spice up their KTV parties with a little meth or special K. The fancy pipe just fits with the whole KTV private room aesthetic.

Offline flying free

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Re: Chinese Lampwork Glass Meth Pipes in The Shanghai Public Security Museum
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2015, 08:32:34 PM »
KTV ? new one on me - what does it mean?

m

Offline Mosquito

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Re: Chinese Lampwork Glass Meth Pipes in The Shanghai Public Security Museum
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2015, 02:10:57 AM »
KTV is Karaoke, but the style is very different from karaoke that we see in Britain, for example. KTV is tremendously popular here in China and it's common for companies to arrange KTV nights for their staff as a group social activity. KTV is also often the first choice for young people looking to party.

Instead of singing on a public stage, you typically book a private room. The private room is softly lit with big sofas or chairs and has a big screen to show the video and lyrics plus a mic. and PA system so you can sing along. Typically you'd order drinks and snacks and spend the night taking turns to sing as well as playing drinking games or dice. KTV ranges for the respectable to the seedy. At the less respectable clubs you can order girls to join you in the private room and they'll provide 'extra service' for a fee. Likewise some KTV bars have become popular with drug users due to the private nature of the rooms and party atmosphere and the gang involvement of some of the owners/ managers.

Offline flying free

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Re: Chinese Lampwork Glass Meth Pipes in The Shanghai Public Security Museum
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2015, 02:24:04 AM »
oh yes, been there done that (KTV I mean,  not the accompanying meths, girls, seedy stuff lol) - I hated those evenings probably because I can't sing.  It's funny that was 18 years ago and they're still going strong.
m


 

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