An alternative version to one of ‘Streets of Old Hong Kong’s’ most controversial releases...
K&C got quite a bit of notoriety both here in Hong Kong and overseas when we first introduced ‘The Opium Smokers’ set.
As we all know history has no shortage of darker moments and the subject of ‘OPIUM’ has been an integral part of the Hong Kong story.
This city’s foundations were built on the Opium Trade when British traders introduced Opium, grown and refined in India and then shipped to China in exchange for silver bullion. After a few years it became a major problem for China itself and the Emperor tried to ban it and stop its import. The British traders meanwhile were most upset by this attempted ban on their highly lucrative business and coerced the British Government to take their side. This was to lead to the ‘First Opium War’ in which the victorious British were ceded a small, barren island off the coast of Southern China called... Hong Kong.
From the 1880’s, the importation of Opium into China declined as Chinese – grown opium, much cheaper than the imported kind, began to take over the market. At the same time, mounting pressure from the Church and the British Government forced Hong Kong to close most of its legally-operated opium dens and to cease exporting any to China.
Finally, it was not until 1943, while Hong Kong was still occupied by the Japanese, that the British Government completely banned the selling and smoking of Opium in the Colony.
These two revised sets portray an earlier time when there was a much-more relaxed and nuanced official attitude to Opium Dens, their proprietors and customers...
An elderly ‘Opium Seller’ and his Maid who operate the ‘Den’ itself.
Scale 1:30 / 60mm