Antique Measuring Instrument Collection - Chinese Steelyard Balance Scale

Bookmark this page Chinese Steelyard Balance Scale

  • Maker: Da Chang
  • Date: c1909
  • Description and Notes:

    This type of traditional Chinese balance scale is often been referred to as the Chinese "Opium" scale by the westerners. This however is a rather misleading definition, whereas it sure had been used in the opium houses around China in the late Qing Dynasty, it nonetheless already has been used long before then in all Chinese pharmacies for weighing herbs and other traditional organic Chinese medicines. In addition, as indicated in Scales: A Collector's Guide, p. 140, this type of scales also have been widely used in the Chinese gold shops for weighing coins, gold, and silver.

    This scale is stored in a solid rosewood case, the steelyard is made of ivory, the counterweight and the plate are made of brass. It is however different from the ordinary ones commonly found in the market in that the counterweight of which consists of two parts, and can be used separately to accommodate the two sets of scales engraved on the steelyard.

    According to the maker's mark, this scale was made in the Chinese year "Ji-Eyu", which could be the year of 1849, 1909, or even 1969, but judging from the quality and the material used, 1909 seems to be the most likely date.

  • More Pictures:

    Contents Spread Out  | Separated Conterweights  | Scale in Action  | Case Closed View

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