The scale works by attaching a string to the thick end of the rod with another thin, moveable string (to which a lump of opium was attached) that is moved up or down the wooden rod, settling into notches carved into the wood, until the weight of the opium is balanced. The position of the groove when balanced provides a rough indication of the weight of the opium.
A custom made stand is included for displaying the artifact. It would make a nice addition to any opium smoking paraphernalia collection. A similar scale is featured on p.285 of Paul and Elaine Lewis’ Peoples of the Golden Triangle as shown in the last photo of the series provided in the listing.
Length: 29.5cm, 11.6 in
Circumference: 10cm, 4 in
Period: 19th Century
Provenance: Northern Thailand