Rustic coral pipe
Not immediately recognizable as a pipe, but really special is this tobacco pipe made of a piece of black coral. In the thickest part of the branch a semi-spherical pipe bowl is drilled, the coral stump itself is pierced for the smoke flue that ends in a kind of mouthpiece at the rounded end of the longest branch. The color of this special material is brown-black with lighter shades in numerous places and sometimes even some golden shine. But there is more to the object to experience. If we look closely, two ends of the coral appear to be cut in the shape of a fish, one of which looks like a carp given the explicit scales. In Asia, black coral is seen as an amulet or talisman against evil forces, disease or misfortune. Hence, it is a material that people like to carry with them. Incidentally, this is an exuberant piece, with a considerable size and a weight of over an ounce. The origin of this pipe must be in China, most logically from one of the coastal towns where you have coral within reach. Despite its high value as a good luck bearer, coral as a smoking pipe material is not very pleasant. It imparts an odor and off-taste to smoking, which is certainly not something a pipe smoker desires. Yet this pipe has been smoked intensively, apparently the smoker knew that you had to pull this pipe very gently so as not to let your smoking pleasure be spoiled by a stale taste.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 24.502Permalink