In the second half of the nineteenth century the cigar became a general and popular alternative for the smoker. This new fashion leads to a large industry in refined and elaborately carved holders, not always functional and often rather ladylike in appearance. These pipes became the secrets of the gentleman's smoke room, especially when carved in piquant to erotic scenes.
The variety in carving of these meerschaum cheroot holders is immense. The most refined examples are skilful pieces of labour and show explicit and exact details in flowers, animals, personages or even scenes with a dozen people. They vary in size from a few inches to about ten inches. Meerschaum cigar holders were generally sold in a case to protect the fragile work of art.
After 1900 the production continues, but in a more industrial way. Also with this item the decline starts and the subject is treated with less interest. It is in that era that the endless series of jumping horses, sitting dogs and bird's claws were made. After World War I cigar holders are no longer in use.
All objects on this page are part of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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