|according Father Régis Huc
The opium is not smoked the same way as the tobacco is.
The pipe consists of a tube which length and dimension is quite similar to common flute. A bowl of terra-cotta (the furnace) previously drilled, is hanged at the extremity of the tube, and a little hole is connected to the inside of the tube.
The opium is a kind of blackish and gummy substance that must be prepared before consuming. With a long needle, smokers take a portion of opium then they heat it with a little lamp until it is getting swelled, cooked and correctly consistent. Afterwards, the prepared opium will be placed in front of the bowl’s hole, paying special attention so that the opium is getting cone-shaped, then eventually they can leak it out with the needle to ensure that there is a connection with the cavity of the tube.
Subsequently, they would heat the opium with a lamp flame. After three or four mouthful inhalations, the cone is entirely consumed and the smoke is already inside smoker’s mouth which rejects it from his nostrils. The same process is repeated and this makes the way of smoking very long and meticulous.
Chinese addicted to opium usually smoke it laid down on wide caned beds, sometimes on the one side and sometimes on the other side, they suppose that this position is the most favorable. The most eminent smokers do not prepare the opium their selves as there is a dedicated person who serves them up the prepared opium pipe.
Father Régis Huc (1813 - 1860), Priest of the Lazarist Congregation, Missionary in China in 1847.