Japanese stage pipe
Coming from Japan this tobacco pipe or kiseru is special for multiple reasons. First the size, because the pipe differs from the refined conventional ones by being larger with more weight and a rather coarse decoration. You wonder if this pipe was made by a pipe maker. The shape of the pipe bowl with a heavy bowl wall is not characteristic for Japanese pipe makers at all. A unique feature of this object is that the stem slides open, revealing a dagger with a razor-sharp blade. The size in combination with this second function indicates that this pipe played a special role in the theater. Thanks to the large size, it is clearly visible from a distance, while the weapon function is a surprise that makes a big impression on stage. Notwithstanding its originality because of the size and the added function, if we look at the workmanship of this object, it is somewhat disappointing. Where the Japanese kiseru is characterized by refinement and subtlety, made with great craftsmanship, this pipe is, as noted, coarse and shapeless in design, while the decoration on the pipe is rather unclear. These characterize the fact that it is not a pipe maker, but a gunsmith who was unaware of the refinement of the kiseru. The fact that he was an expert in forging stabbing weapons explains the fabulous metal of the knife, for which the gunsmith may be applauded.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 23.467Permalink