Meerschaum Turk head
The portrayal of exotics and especially Turks with turbans is loved by tobacco pipe makers and was already worked out in fine details by porcelain factories from the eighteenth century. This majestic portrait head of a Turk with turban is undoubtedly inspired by those creations and all characteristics are almost slavishly adopted. However, manufacture of this piece did not take place until the Turkomania was already over, namely in the first half of the nineteenth century. Although robust and well proportioned, the image can be fully traced back to earlier examples, there is hardly anything of its own. Yet for those who pay close attention, one characteristic is typical of the nineteenth century, and that is the beard of the Turk, which did not occur in eighteenth century versions in porcelain. The turban is, as usual, provided with a chelengk, an Ottoman decorative feather with the characteristic half-moon underneath. Nice detail is that the moon of the turban is repeated on the silver lid. Whereas the porcelain counterparts always have a hinged cover, a clamping cover is used here, which is secured to the stub ring with a silver chain. The stem end is trimmed with a silver band of stylized acanthus leaves. What is special about this object is that it is a signed meerschaum pipe, the name of the pipe maker Roth, at the time working in Budapest, is imprinted on the stub. The object was preserved with the accompanying case. Practically, the pipe can be smoked in the case and then the silver lid with moon protrudes pontifically above it. In use, the fragile meerschaum was protected against damage and ugly, uneven discolouration.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 17.134Permalink