Contemporary prints and works of art showing the use of tobacco can be regarded as an important source to study the culture of smoking. Many artists found inspiration in the habit of pipe smoking, while others have depicted the tobacco pipe as an object of fashion. From these artworks we can learn more about the custom of smoking in the different layers of society. More specifically these prints inform us about fashion in pipes resulting in a closer dating of a particular pipe.
Not only European but also tribes from other parts of the world have been registered while smoking. Less in number, these prints are of the same importance for the knowledge of pipes and the tribal smoking habit. It is obvious that in Africa, Asia and the Americas the pipe has been a most traditional object, not subject to substantial change.
A special section of prints does not show the smoker with his habit, but illustrates the smoke attributes themselves. Representative examples are the Racinet prints and the series of prints in the beautiful book Smokiana. Most rarely pipes are depicted and described.
Illustrations on this page from the collections of Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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