The most popular shape for the porcelain pipe bowl is the so-called stummel, or in German Holländisches Modell, an elongated oval bowl with on the base a knob shaped heel and a short stem. These bowls were inserted in a base made from buffalo horn or later porcelain to connect the bowl with the up-going stem, also to collect the moisture from smoking.
The plain shape of the stummel was the ideal base for the development of porcelain painting. From 1780, the start of the production, fashionable miniature paintings were applied. Popular subjects are portraits, elegant scenes, topography and historic scenes.
Like so many objects of applied art the quality of the pipes declined in course of the decades. After 1850 the paintings become more crude and more often the hand painted decorations start to alternate with screen prints and decals. At the same time the refined depictions disappear and hunting scenes are going to dominate as a theme.
A special section are the pipes made on request and personalised with a family name, a family coat of arms or representation of a profession, quite often with a dating. These bowls were ordered by private persons at a Hausmaler who painted scenes on request.
Less interesting from esthetical point of view are the military subjects, although highly appreciated among a small group of collectors. These reservist pipes were a present to the soldier that left the army. The gift mentions the name of the soldier and some examples also show the names of all his mates at the back of the bowl, in two long rows. These pipes are part of the mass production of pipes and are the last success for the porcelain industry.
After 1900 the stummel disappears as serious smoking pipe and becomes a souvenir item. Again the more fashionable and more comfortable briar pipe takes its place.
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