Stylized bird's head
This pipe is made by the Bamum tribe in Cameroon in the cire perdue technique or the lost wax method. The design is first modeled in beeswax. This is then packaged in clay and when heated, the clay hardens while the wax runs away. This creates a simple mould, the hollow spaces of which are filled with bronze. Once this bronze has hardened, the clay lump is smashed and the object appears. Often the bronze still needs to be polished and filled in because of some castings failures or defects. With this wondrous pipe bowl built from geometric shapes, the constricted bowlis dominated by the hook-shaped stylized bird's head. It is said that the turaco bird is depicted, an African fruit-eating bird. This was done in the typical manner of the Grassland artist by reinforcing the animal's characteristics through stylization. A pity of course that the colourful feathers of these birds could not be displayed. The constricted pipe bowl is simply decorated with a few raised geometric bands. Finally, a double locking eye can be seen on the stem to secure the pipe to the stem.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 17.634Permalink