An early effigy pipe
Tobacco smoking has not been known for so long among the people of the Grasslands of Cameroon. It was probably introduced there at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Pipes from that region are therefore rarely more than two centuries old. Yet this effigy pipe bowl looks centuries old and that is because it is an archaeological object. That the test of time had reined freely is mainly due to the soft-baked ceramics of which these pipe bowls are made. The surface of the object is quickly affected and therefore looks being much older. That is misleading because for the production of such portrait pipes with mature style characteristics, an industry certainly had to exist for a generation. Anyway, this pipe bowl is a beautiful early piece with mature style features that fits the Bamum. Characteristic are the round eyes with the circular pupils, the relief in the face, the small crescent-shaped ears and the specific mouth. Between the bowl and the stem end is a ceramic band, which is pierced and serves to attach a security cord to the pipe stem. Due to the soft ceramics, few of these early pieces have been preserved, but thanks to the strong tradition of pipe making, many styles are repeated endlessly later on. This pipe is proof of the primordial shape of many of these pipe bowls.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 20.124Permalink