Engelbert Kampfer, a Westphalian physician working for the Dutch East India Company, recorded that the Javanese soaked their tobacco in water that made the head ‘spin violently’. The opium required for this preparation quickly became the most precious traded commodity in Batavia. The first traders to introduce opium for smoking to China were probably the Dutch between 1624 and 1660, first to their trade posts in Taiwan, and from there to Fujin. During the tumultuous decades of the Ming-Qing transistion, opium (madak) smoking was confined to the Taiwan Strait, and not noted by the Qing authorities until Xaimen was captured in 1683.

Javanese opium was blended with roots of local plants and hemp, minced, boiled with water in copper pans and finally mixed with tobacco: this blend is called madak. The mixture was prepared by the owners of smoking houses and fetched a prices significantly higher than for pure tobacco. Opium house owners in Taiwan also provided the smoking implement: a bamboo tube with a filter made of coir fibers produced from local coconut palms. Early reports from Taiwan indicate that they often offered the first smoke of madak free, serving copious amount of appetizers, food, and desserts. Travelers to Fujin and Taiwan observed that honey, candy and fruits were eaten as the opium was budding and crackling above the lamp. Contemporary observers such as Zhu Jingying also mentioned the opium (yapian) originated from parts of Southeast Asia which correspond to Indonesia and the Philippines today. The same author described the first opium pipes: made of tobacco, round, slender and with a fine opening, with a mouthpiece made of china clay. The substance was smoked with a hollow pot made of yellow clay, which was used to cook the opium. While the cleaning tool and the opium box were made of bamboo, opium paste scrapers were based on either iron or bamboo, flat or curved.

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