A 74g antique Burmese bronze opium weight in the form of a cockerel.
This weight would have been made in the 18th or 19th century using the loss wax technique where the model is first carved form wax, a clay mould os formed around the wax and then molten bronze is poured into the mould, displacing the wax.
The weight bears a sticker to its base indicating that it sold in Sotheby's in 1996. I have the catalogue from that auction and have included a couple of pictures of it.
Animal folklore is prevalent in Burmese mythology and religion. Weights, loom pulleys, textiles, everyday household items, and everything in between, were commonly decorated with animal forms.
The earliest recorded Burmese weights are from the 13th century and only mimicked bird and quadruped shapes. They were used with balance scales in early commerce and most commonly ranged in weight from ½ to 100 ticals (3.5lbs). Weights and scales were often stored in boxes carved with intricate patterns.
Art collectors have referred to these weights as “opium weights.” However, art historians refer to them as graduated, or standard weights because only smaller weights were used in opium trade.