Portrait pipe in ivory
This pipe of maritime ivory or sperm whale tooth is an impressive object with its length of 65 centimeters. The tobacco pipe is made up of tooth segments, each of which has been carefully turned. The five stem pieces are cleverly twisted and are threaded into oval knots with the same twist. In this way a long stem is constructed with a flexible piece of braided metal wire at the top ending in a button mouthpiece. Of course, most attention is paid to the pipe bowl, who’s strong pointed shape at the base is immediately recognizable as the tooth of a sperm whale. This pipe bowl shows the fantasy portrait of an Eastern man with a moustache and a long pointed beard, with a similar face at the back. On his head he wears a turban decorated with a few strings of beads, the reverse shows a tighter headgear. What is striking about this pipe is that there is no separate inner bowl, as is usually the case. The smoldering tobacco burned directly against the tooth material, resulting in an unpleasant smell. Despite that, the inside of the pipe bowl has received a nice even cake layer of charcoal by smoking. Fortunately the bowl has not cracked, as many people will fear. The pipe bowl is covered with a clamping lid with abundant carving. In the connecting piece between the bowl and the stem is a third portrait, also of a man with a moustache and beard and wearing a kind of turban, albeit considerably smaller. That face looks the other way. Such curious and above all not too comfortable pipes were occasionally made in the nineteenth century, but the number that has survived is extremely small. Because of the material used, its length and the carved decoration, this is a special piece that belongs in the display cabinet rather than between the lips of a smoker.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 24.691
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