Water barrel or asenewa
At the Ashanti people in Ghana there is a close relationship between proverbs or sayings from the local language and the design of their household goods and consumer articles. It is therefore not surprising that many pipe bowls are consistent with expressions in everyday language. This pipe bowl makesa good example. This is because a bowl or asenewa is depicted in the pipe, a metal vessel containing water that is the most common piece of household for the Ashanti in addition to the cooking pot. This depiction expresses a saying that is not so understandable to us: ‘When the pot of the poor breaks, the gourd lies next to it’. The way of saying indicates that the poor are satisfied with little: if their water pot breaks, they simply use a gourd. Striking and also characteristic of these pipes is the fine carving in the earthenware that has been designed in this way for generations. The beautiful engobe with which the ceramic is covered is another characteristic of these finely decorated pipes. After the pipe was baked, it was rubbed with white chalk to enhance the contrast of the incisions. Such pipe bowls were mounted with a straight wooden stem, sometimes covered with metal fittings. Understandably, those stems are hardly preserved because they were not taken by travelers, while the decorated pipe bowls were popular souvenirs.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 16.708Permalink