A portrait pipe with allure
This magnificent stub stemmed pipe bowl is made from coquilla nut, a hard tropical nut that can freshly be cut, but which later hardens and becomes rock hard. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, pipes were made from these nuts, often with an extraordinary artistic design. They are the variant of the numerous small snuff boxes and other curiosities that were also made out of the same material. This pipe bowl is a wonderful and particularly artistic example. The bowl represents the head of a woman, a band with grapevines interlaced in her hair. A bird's head below her collar protrudes at the base of the pipe bowl, its curved beak forming the extreme tip of the pipe bowl. This bird's head almost unnoticeably turns into a stem, decorated with geometric carvings with an abundance of flower buds. To complete the sculpture, a cover has even been made in the same nut, which is attached to the pipe bowl with a small brass hinge. Coquilla nut is not really resistant to the burning tobacco, so an insert of a different material is added into the bowl. Often – as in this case - this is a normal clay pipe bowl, which ensures both a neutral taste, and also prevents the nut from cracking due to heat. Thanks to that inner bowl, the pipe also became a suitable smoking instrument for critical smokers.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 16.473Permalink