29 April 2017
The Xhosa tribe in South-Africa, formerly also indicated as Kaffer, has developed a special tradition in pipe making. For over two centuries they use a local wood to carve tobacco pipes in a specific shape. The standard shape is a long stem with a high cylindrical bowl, with a small heel underneath referring to the Dutch clay pipe. Since the wood is not fire-resistant, the interior of the bowl is lined with sheet metal. The mouthpiece is quite particular, made of a different wood, contrasting in colour. While the pipe can be transferred to another person, the mouthpiece is strictly personal and even of magical value. Except for the standard shapes, all kinds of geometrical pipe designs are made. For instance with a stem in a non-functional, but quite funny angle or with a circular decoration around the bowl, giving the pipe a very distinctive silhouette. Furthermore added decorations of coloured beads are popular.