A pipe from the Plains
They are always called peace pipe, but the term ceremonial pipe would be more appropriate. Made from catlinite, also known as pipestone, this pipe enjoyed a great reputation among the Indian or more exact Native American tribes and was only smoked on sacral occasions. The special type of stone with the beautiful red colour, often with subtle hues, was said to have been kept in a special place by the tribal elder. Thus the sacral aspect of the pipe was underlined. Characteristic of this Indian pipe is the design in which the flattened shape has to do with the small thickness of the stone layers. The appearance of bowl and stem are fixed by tradition. The cylindrical bowl perpendicular to the stem is a standard feature, while the stem itself continues a little behind the pipe bowl. Often that part becomes very subtly slightly thinner to be cut obliquely at the end. This specimen has all those characteristics but is a even bit more luxurious than usual. The pipe bowl is in fact provided with an incised geometric pattern on the upper part which is afterwards filled in with lead. Casting this lead work was a simple job and just happened in the sand. When this lead had hardened, it was trimmed and polished to a pleasantly smooth surface. Such pipes were widely used in the prairie area east of the Rocky Mountains, but are nowadays very sought after by collectors and thus becoming quite rare. They are among the most distinctive/iconic objects of Indian culture and speak strongly to the imagination.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 16.849Permalink