American smoking pipe
The use of tobacco and the habit of smoking are the oldest in Meso-America. Pipes from the Jama-Coaque culture in Ecuador dating 500 BC are the oldest in the Pijpenkabinet collections. Their tubular pipes can be embellished with true sculptures in human or animal shapes.
Many pipes from the pre-Columbian era were found in shaft graves in Mexico. Various tribes made terracotta pipes that are by nature fire resisting. Famous are the specimen with large bowls and a stem length of half a meter, typical for the Purepechas. In the Michoacan area figural pipes were shaped after the mescaline cactus. Another curiosity are pipes in the shape of an ankle and foot, the tows leaning out of the pipe as a smoke tube.
The North-American Indians start smoking with tubular pipes as well, here made in stone. The typical tobacco pipe of the American Indian tribes is called calumet or peace pipe. The stone pipe bowl is mounted with a decorated wooden stem. The most famous is the red coloured catlinite, found in a special area. The oldest member of the tribe is responsible for the keeping of the pipe that serves ceremonial purposes mainly.
Another remarkable pipe is the tomahawk, a pipe in the shape of an axe with opposite to the blade a pipe bowl connected with the smoke tube in the handle of the axe. The tomahawk was imported by the Europeans in large quantities and was exchanged with the Indians for hides. Often the stem is decorated with feathers and quillwork.
Smoking pipes from South-America often resemble the shapes and styles from the Northern regions. Typical are the tubular pipes with a fish shaped mouthpiece. From the renowned North-American calumet a ceramic version is introduced. Europeans import the famous oval shaped pipe bolws, soon imitated in local styles.
The Haida on Queen Charlotte Island in Alaska use the black to dark brown argilite for their pipes. A lot of these tobacco pipes are artistically carved with original and unexpected motifs. Even the imported clay tobacco pipes are copied in stone.
When America is overloaded with European immigrants new types of pipe production starts. Then we meet with semi industrial products in local varieties like the Pamplin and Point Pleasant pipes. From technical point of view and in shape they are copies of the European pipes, however the American aspect of the work is recognisable.American smoking pipe The use of tobacco and the habit of smoking are the oldest in Meso-America. Pipes from the Jama-Coaque culture in Ecuador dating 500 BC are the oldest in the Pijpenkabinet ]]>