Massim tobacco pipe
The area of the Sepik river in Papua New Guinea is the habitat of a people who are referred to as Massim. They are originally headhunters and cannibals, but nowadays those cruel habits have disappeared. Now they are mainly known as wood carvers, the largest objects they make are kept as shields, ancestral statues and masks in the men's house. Naturally, these large works of art also influence small art. This tobacco pipe is a fine example of the latter. With its funnel-shaped bowl and extension at the bottom, this shape is quite typical for the Massim. The silhouette has a pure dagger shape, the lower part of which shows the shape of the blade. This flat part is provided on both sides with geometric carvings in lines, with rows of s-motifs alternating with spirals. The pipe bowl itself is usually left unadorned, as is also this case. The separation of bowl and stem is marked with a modest, square cuff in which a short, hollowed-out twig is inserted as a stem. As a subtle ornament at the same height on the other side a stylized animal head is carved, the eye of which is accentuated with a white glass bead. After carving, the pipe is impregnated, sometimes also coloured with a red dye. During use, the object gradually loses its colour and becomes darker, until it has turned brown-black after years of smoking. In that condition, this pipe fell into disuse until it was sold as a collector's item. Only a generation later this fine pipe was added to our collection as an exotic item.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 22.206
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