Two 19th century ivory or bone containers designed to carry small, personal
amount of smoking opium.
The procedure of smoking opium varies, but it mostly consists
the following. First, the spirit lamp is lit and the smoker makes himself
comfortable, as opium is most efficiently smoked in a reclining position.
Then, taking a pea-sized ball of the dark opium paste and with the end of
a long needle, he holds it over the flame of the lamp until the opium bubble
swells and turns golden. The gooey mass is stretched into long strings
in order to 'cook' it better, repeating the procedure several times. After
being properly cooked, he rolls it back into its pea shape and quickly pushes
it into the hole in the bowl. Holding the bowl close to the flame so
that the flame hits the ball of opium, this is the point where the smoker
takes a deep pull at the pipe until the opium is completely consumed.
Source: Barbara Hodgson, Opium:
A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon, 1999, p. 111.