Folklore

With folk art the aspect of ever changing fashions transfers in tradition. No changes occur, habits are kept as they were. For pipes and the smoking habit this means that styles of pipes remain the same frequently within regional boundaries. To this category the so-called Trachtenpfeifchen belongs, a traditional short pipe characteristic for Germany and Austria, as well as the long Gouda clay pipe. Both pipes are no longer chosen by the younger generation but only by those who are traditional.

The ultimate example of Dutch folklore habits is the bridegroom's pipe. This phenomenon was common in the eastern parts of Holland, but it is also known in other regions. Offering a pipe to the bridegroom at the day of the wedding is for instance also common at the isle of Marken till the 1920's. The pipe decorated with silk flowers was smoked on the wedding day and was preserved afterwards in the Sunday's room of the house. Only on the anniversary day of the wedding the pipe was smoked again, with great caution because people believed that the marriage would be over when the pipe got broken.

Folk art is also the preservation of habits that are about to vanish. The Marker fisherman kept smoking a clay pipe for a rather long time keeping up an old tradition. This was done for the tourists to match with the appearance of the Dutch not only wearing wooden shoes but also smoking long clay pipes. A habit based more on economic profit than on idealistic or folk feelings.

Also in other countries the pipe is kept in use as a folk item. De Belgian and French farmers liked to smoke a Jacob pipe, the bowl showing the head of a bearded man, wearing a turban, referring to Jacob from the bible.

In Germany the long stemmed pipe with the separate oval pipe bowl has been popular for several generations. This so-called Gesteckpfeife with a bowl in wood, is smoked by farmers or simple craftsmen. This type of pipe suits very well with a Tiroler outfit.

Also today the tobacco pipe still plays a role in the local traditions. Unfortunately, while these habits are gradually forgotten, more often the wrong pipes are chosen, not matching with the role of the person.

man and woman in traditional folk dresses and matching pipe, Bern, Switserland, 1800-1830 farmer's type from the region of Zoeterwoude photographed at his weekly visit to the Leiden market, the Netherlands, 1900-1910
lighting a cigar from a traditional clay pipe, a token of friendship, Marken, the Netherlands, 1900-1910
popular folk illustrations of smokers from Marken, the Netherlands, 1900-1910
popular picture postcard with a wedding at Marken, the bridegroom smoking a wedding pipe, the Netherlands, 1900-1915 a real Indian smoking in piece from a Dutch clay during a visit to the isle of Marken, the Netherlands, 1920-1930
smokers with short briar and long stemmed clay tobacco pipe in the fishers' village Volendam
portrait of a student smoking a long tobacco pipe with a porcelain bowl, Germany, c. 1840.
a Dutch ship owner with his traditional long stemmed clay tobacco pipe, Paris, c, 1840.
portrait of a person from the east provinces of the Netherlands smoking a so-called gesteckpijp, drawing by J. Herout, 1829
traditional look of a fisherman of the Dutch isle of Marken complete with the long clay tobacco pipe, Holland, 1840-1880
a fisherman from Scheveningen with a cutty between his teeth, lithographic print, c. 1900
on her way to the market with old fasionned baskets and a traditional pipe, Genève, Switserland, 1910-1920
historic picture of a man posing in an old-fashioned costume complete with pipe, Brittany, 1910-1925
man in a cape and characteristic hat, smoking from a clay pipe, Bask, France, 1910-1920
a common mistake when history is introduced, a man from a town smoking a Jacob-pipe typical for the farmer, Charollais, France, 1950-1970
the long German pipe with porcelain bowl as element in fantasy cards, Germany, 1920-1920
the Tiroler type of pipe, so-called Gesteckpfeife with oval bowl and upgoing stem, etching, Germany, 1910-1930
the ultimate degradation of the clay pipe when it became an instrument to blow soap bubbles, The Hague, the Netherlands, 1905-1910
Illustrations on this page from the collections of Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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