The carver has intertwined two animals in a particularly skillful manner in this pipe bowl. A lying lion dominates, on the other side we see a mythical animal that most resembles a dragon: a naked four-legged animal with a large head, wings high on the shoulders and a long tail ending in an arrowhead. In any case, it is a fairly hybrid animal that appeals to the imagination. A fire-breathing dragon is the closest to portrayal, though all of the dragon's features are moderate. It is appropriate for the stem that the animal spits smoke instead of fire. Knowing that light woods are widely used for tobacco pipes in Scandinavia, this item must also come from that region. Then it would make sense that both animals together portray a local story borrowed from one of the myriad of local myths or legends. This original combination of two powerful animals that seem to embrace each other is cleverly made by the wood carver. The bottom of the pipe bowl proves that it is a full sculpture. There is an S-shaped ornament carved with very subtle features of the Louis XV style. The modest ornaments on the volute give the impression that we are dealing with a genuine eighteenth century piece. This early dating is also confirmed by the subtle way in which details of the two animals, such as eyes, teeth and nails are inlaid in bone. With their yellow-white color, they break through the brown hue of the object and provide beautiful accents, in addition, they demonstrate great craftsmanship.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 24.249Permalink