Snobbish smoke set
The Japanese smoker expresses his status with his smoking equipment, usually in a very subtile, understated way. This smoking set is quite different in this respect. It consists of a leather pipe case and a leather tobacco bag, both oversized. On the tobacco bag, especially the lock plate stands out, with a silver character mounted on a silver plate, the outer edge in contrasting brass. With a heavy set of silver chains both objects are attached to a large ivory button, which holds the smokers set between the belt. In terms of status, this object seems fit for a self-assured cow seller, an article without any refinement that is really only showing off. This is so out of the ordinary in Japanese culture where refinement is so highy valued. The same applies to the corresponding pipe. That too is large and coarse and has a strong straightforward form. However, it is equipped with a tiny, normal sized silver pipe bowl that contrasts nicely with the iron of the rest of the pipe. The bamboo stem shows at the bowl side how the knots were removed to get a nice straight stem. It is unclear whether that unpolished zone was deliberately kept visible or not.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 20.219
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