THE STONED WANDERER
In construction and function a bong is similar to a hookah, except smaller and especially more portable. A bong may be constructed from any air- and water-tight vessel by adding a bowl and stem apparatus (or slide) which guides air downward to below water level whence it bubbles upward ("bubbler") during use. To get fresh air into the bong and harvest the last remaining smoke, a hole known as the "carburator", "carb", "choke", "bink", "rush", "shotty", "kick hole", or simply "hole", somewhere on the lower part of the bong above water level, is first kept covered during the smoking process, then opened to allow the smoke to be drawn into the respiratory system.
Excavations of a kurgan in Russia in 2013 revealed that Scythian tribal chiefs used gold bongs 2400 years ago to smoke cannabis and opium. The kurgan was discovered when construction workers were clearing land for the construction of a power line.
The use of a water pipe for smoking was introduced in China during the late Ming Dynasty (16th century), along with tobacco, through Persia and the Silk Road. By the Qing Dynasty, it became the most popular method to smoke tobacco, but became less popular since the Republic era. While typically employed by commoners, the water pipe is known to have been preferred by Empress Dowager Cixi over snuff bottles or other methods of intake. According to the Imperial Household Department, she was buried with at least three water pipes; some of her collections can be seen in the Palace Museum.
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