Walrus tooth for a tobacco pipe
The West Inuit are the makers of this unusual tobacco pipe, cut from the tooth of a walrus. The choice of materials in the inhospitable area of Alaska is scarce and limited to dental and bone material. Characteristics of such pipes are the angular shape in the section of the pipe stem and the loose pipe bowl mounted on the top. For the Inuit, however, it did not stop with simple, unadorned products. They soon discover that they could offer their handicrafts as souvenirs to European whalers and gold diggers in the Bering street. Especially for that target group, the pipes are decorated with incised and coloured representations that do well with tourists. Especially the hunting scenes of this polar people with the local animals got popular. This pipe is a fine example with a reindeer, polar bear, walrus and birds, together with Indian wigwams. This pipe must have been made by the Inupiaq tribe in northern Alaska between 1890 and 1900. It found its way to England as a souvenir and was preserved as a memory piece in Bath, finally ending its travel in an Amsterdam museum collection.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 23.893Permalink