Marks and signs
The different gauge marks help to define when and where a standard opium weight was cast.
On the pumpkin-shaped pedestals of the oldest weights known to us, we find embossments on the front and back sides showing the motif of the weight.
On both sides of the pedestal characters are to be found.
This type of weight is said to come from Pegu.
Old lion opium weights have the embossed replica only on the front part of the pedestal. All the same weights cast during the past fifty years have been found stamped with seals of the same kind too.
Gauge marks used in later centuries represent only the contours of the animal mounted on the base, see the illustration below:
In the 19th century the most common marks are in the form of star flowers with 4 to 9 petals, respectively dots - see below picture.
The definition of age to be found in literature is as follows :
4 petals : early 19th century
5 or 6 petals : from the middle of the 19th century onwards
8 or 9 petals : late 19th century
Above datings are estimated and are not 100% sure, but according to our experience, it is quite correct.
There are opium weights with more then one gauge mark which were evidently gauged several times. On the octogonal pedestal of one lion opium weight that we previously had in our collection we even found 4 gauge marks !
The seals are found above all on the front or on the third rectangle to the left.
We have found the following seals, see below picture :
Some very special opium weights also have seals on the bottom of the pedestal.