Columbus on the pipe
Portrait pipes of existing people in meerschaum are extremely popular among collectors. They prove the craftsmanship of the meerschaum carver whose task is to grasp the realistic features of a person. It was quite a task for the carver to come to a true-to-life resemblance, in contrast to the production of fantasy figures where facial expressions didn't matter so much. This portrait of Christopher Columbus is a fine example of a successful portrait, carved with the help of a history print, but cleverly three-dimensional. It is not surprising that Columbus was immortalized in a pipe, his role in introducing tobacco into the Old World has been essential. The mounting with an amber mouthpiece was common at the time. Later, when the amber got broken at the point of attachment, this stem got a silver band. That strap is provided with fine engraving and emphasizes that even during the time of repair the pipe was still seen as a luxury item.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 21.940Permalink