Meerschaum cigar holders
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the cigar became an important competitor to the tobacco pipe. Until the First World War, it remained customary to smoke the cigar in a pipe, which led to a boom in cigar holders. This remarkable fashion resulted in highly decorated pipes that don’t seem really functional with their unexpected feminine look. Quite artificial and often over-decorated objects that became the conversation piece in the men's room, the fumoir. That is why sensual and even erotic scenes were often depicted!
The carving of these cigar holders is phenomenal, especially in the beginning. The most refined specimens attest to highly skilled craftsmanship with their striking detail and lifelike images. A good example is the Lohengrin pipe with a very detailed swan knight from Wagner's famous opera. The lion hunter is another pipe in which the minute details create a dazzling action scene.
Just as with the tobacco pipes, the cigar holder is affected by generalization of subject matter and decline of workmanship After 1900, production became increasingly industrial, while the beautiful carvings gradually gave way to simple depictions of dogs, horses or a bird's claw. These are the pipes that have been handed down by the thousands as inheritance of the simple men. True craftsmanship was getting rare. Once again, the modern and fashion-conscious smoker has changed their interest, now into the cigarette.
Click here to return to the general page for browsing all subjects.