Image of a water pipe smoker
This simply executed print is one of many images of hookah or water pipe smokers produced in the nineteenth century. We find them as an illustration in travel journals to show the exotic smoking habits. This is a water pipe smoker from India, who, after a long journey, arrived in a smoking salon to rest and to smoke a sturdy pipe. The same print shows a few fellow smokers, in different styles with different types of water pipes. In this way the variety of clothing but also of smoking positions and hookahs from India are made known. The main feature is sitting on the floor smoking from a pipe with a clear bottle shape that is placed in front of the smoker. It is remarkable that all pipes have a fixed stem. This is different in the Mediterranean, where water pipes have a flexible hose that smokes more comfortably. For the Indian himself, the type of pipe, the clothing and the way of sitting can immediately tell the region of origin. Printed in European publications, however, only the curious way of smoking is preserved. Even more so when, as is this case, the lithographer who processed the drawings of the traveler simplified the details at its discretion. In this way he created an attractive unity in style that enhances the artistic quality of the print, but unfortunately some of the reality was lost as a result.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 17.280
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