More graceless is not possible
The Mangbetu, a people living in Congo, is responsible for this tobacco pipe and it is without a doubt the least elegant pipe from the collection of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum. The object is made of insignificant tree wood, the straight stem and the thickened mouthpiece being the best parts. There the wood is relatively well straightened and the shape still shows a certain elegance. The bowl, on the other hand, springs from this stem like a hammer head and is completely shapeless. Here the carving, which goes against the grain, is also downright choppy and uneven. Moreover, this bowl is too small for the large thickness of the stem. Apparently the maker did not feel the need to smoothen his product in order to improve the shape. The soft wood has been burned on the inside, although this does not indicate intensive use given the soft nature of the wood. Yet this shapeless object is a perfect example that a tobacco pipe does not always/necessarily have to be an expression of fine craftsmanship. That this object has been preserved is due to the fact that this pipe was retained in a monastic collection for decades, making it now a rarity. It is the poor counterpart of a comparable but much larger pipe in our collection that is well designed.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 18.013
Archive object of month