Bust of a black woman
This beautiful portrait pipe shows a popular subject: a negro women, often depicted with a slightly opened mouth in which even the teeth can be seen as a test of skilled carving. She is shown here with earrings and a koti, a loosely draped fabric headdress with a bow on the front. The bust shows some simple clothing in which a double necklace with a pendant. This part of the pipe is made in so-called double cire. With that finish the meerschaum discoloured in two shades for an extra playful effect. Considering the quality of the carving, we tend to attribute this pipe to Vienna, but at the same time other well qualified carvers worked in other cities such as Paris. This makes identification of such late nineteenth-century pipes extremely difficult. Many elegant pipes had an amber stem in that period, but here a somewhat old-fashioned stub was used in which a separate stem was inserted. The pipe still has its original stem of brown-black buffalo horn with a twisted stem, crowned by a polygonal type of bell shape. The actual mouthpiece is bent with a kink.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 21.674
Archive object of month