Cameroon

The most explicit culture of pipe smoking is to be found in Cameroon. Each tribe has its own traditional decorations and strict regulations who is allowed to smoke which pipes. Woman for instance may smoke the pipes decorated with geometric patterns; they are not allowed to use pipes with antropomorphic and figural decorations.

The largest pipes, with bowls up to half a meter in height, are greatly appreciated gifts for the chiefs. They are not in use for smoking, but serve as an object of status to be carried around during ceremonies and official meetings.

Ceramic is the most common material for making pipes, moulded by women and backed in primitive field kilns. This tradition survives till nowadays and there still exists an important production of pipes in traditional styles as well as in modern shapes. Hence, it is not very easy to date the Cameroon pipes.

Cameroon also has a well- developed craft of bronze casting used for pipes, next to the ceramic ones. Particularly interesting are the pipes depicting German soldiers. These are made from early twentieth century onwards, when the Germans were colonising Cameroon. The most striking feature of these pipes are the military caps, pointed noses and in the larger examples, the rifle.

A rare example in a traditional shape is an aluminium pipe, dating from the 1970s. This pipe, completely cast in metal, shows in one material the bowl style of a ceramic pipe and the stem part in wood and iron.

two bronze pipes with typical geometrical silhouette, Bamum, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1870-1920 tobacco pipe made from aluminium with three standing figures round the stem, Bamegnan, Cameroon, 1970-1980
tobacco pies in bronze in cire-perdue technique, Bamum, Cameroon, 1870-1920
bronze pipe showing in relief a sitting bird the beak on the bowl rim, Bamum, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1920-1940
pipe bowl showing a stilized cock, Tikar, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1920-1950
nicely shaped pipe with geometrical bowl with bands in relief and upgoing stem, Bamileke, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1900-1920
pipe bowl in cire perdue technique of an elephants' head, Bamessing, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1900-1930
bronze pipe bowl in cire perdu technique with a donkey on the base, the pipe bowl on its back, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1980-1990 curious birds head topped by a conical pipe bowl with geometrical patterns, Babanki, Cameroon, 1950-1960
nicely shaped pipe the bowl the portrait of a German soldier with cap, Bamileke, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1900-1920
unusual design: a German soldier on an elephant, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1900-1920
portrait of a German military man, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1910-1920
German soldier with cap smokign a pipe, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1920-1950
a standing person with elaborate coiffure, the hands on the knees, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1950-1980
the front of the bronze bowl with the standing figure, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1950-1980
beautifully shaped stilized portrait mask, Bamessing, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1800-1900 early stilized terra cotta negro head with characteristics for the Bamum, Bamum, Cameroon, 1800-1900
stilized human head with symbols in the hairs, Bamessing, Cameroon, 1920-1960
funnel shaped pipe bowl decocrated with alternating spiders, the base a human face, Babanki, Kameroen, 190-1930
kneeled figure with bird's head and long beak, Bamileke, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1900-1920 unusual stilized pipe bowl, the base repaired with pieces of cloth, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1920-1950
two pipe bowls with human faces, the left of great artistic merit, the right one rather crude, Bamileke, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1880-1940
detail of a portrait pipe wiht nice stilisation, Bamum, Cameroon, 1940-1970
cilindrical pipe bowl wiht three sitting figures, moonshaped crowns, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1890-1930
pipe bowl in terra cotta with on the front a traditional mask, Bamileke, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1880-1930
round the pipe bowl three standing figures in an attractive alternation, Bapessi, Cameroon, 1940-1960
a mask monkey having its hand on the cheeks, Bamileke, Cameroon, 1920-1950
nicely stylized portrait bowl in brown ceramic, Bamileke, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1880-1930 portrait pipe inspired on the German soldiers with characteristic cap, Bamileke, Cameroon, 1915-1935 terra cotta pipe bowl representing a human holding his hands on his knees, Bamum, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1900-1940
sitting figure with in his hands a calabash and a drinking beaker, Bamileke, Cameroon, 1960-1975
modern figural pipe from black baked ceramic, Tikar, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1990-1995
geometrical form with three plaques showing standing figures with crossed arms, Bamum, Cameroon, 1935-1955
pipe du chef, oversized pipe bowl with stilized spiders on the crown, Bamileke, Cameroon, 1960-1985
pipe bowl with geometrical pattern and two triangles on the bowl rim, Bamileke, Cameroon, 1880-1930
nicely engraved repetitional geometrical patterns, Bamessing, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1900-1940
traditional terra cotta pipe with portrait mask and carved wooden stem, Grasslands, Cameroon, 1920-1940
All objects on this page are part of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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