By Donald Wigal
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Opium, once used for ritual purposes, is a substance which dulls pain and offers access to an artificial world, and has long been idealized by artists and markets. Baudelaire, Picasso, and Dickens were all inspired to create by the blue clouds of smoke. Known as either a sacred drug or the worst of poisons, opium rapidly became popular in Great Britain and a source of commerce with Imperial China. This illustrated work presents the history and quasi-religious rites of opium's use.