Water pipes

The water pipe is the right smoking instrument for warmer areas. The smoke being drawn through the water cools down, which makes it more tasteful. Most of the water pipes are imposing instruments, standing on a fixed place to let the smoker sits down in the near and enjoy the smoke. The water container can have a pear shape, very popular from the beginning, but also a lower bottle shape, which is more stable. Next to these, smaller transportable versions are easy to carry.

The oldest illustration of a water pipe appeared in the famous book by Neander and dates from 1626. The print shows and explains the system on which the pipe is based. Quite common are the Persian miniatures illustrating a water pipe smoker in the characteristic sitting position.

Depending on the living conditions of the user the water pipe has three small feet or a flat base. The first in use for the clay floor, while the second is more for well-furnished houses. The poorest people smoke the water pipe from their hands, using a short stem.

Several illustrations from North Africa show women smoking a water pipe. Often it is doubtful whether these photographs have not been arranged for touristic purpose.

engraving from the publication of Neander showing the system of the water pipe, Lyon, 1626 man in characteristic sit to smoke the water pipe, Persian miniature, 1800-1850
on the waranda of a house a man smokes from a pipe with a pear shaped water container, aquatint, 1750-1820
waranda with several smokers all using a different type of water pipe, aquatint, 1750-1800
a man sitting on the floor smoking a hookah, 1750-1800
two water pipes with in between a sitting smking man, 1750-1800
man smoking a water pipe, aquatint, 1850-1900
illustration showing a water pipe smoker form Persia, France, 1845-1855
man from India with water pipe, the reservoir in metal, engraving, c. 1880
the characteristic water pipe with glass bottle and bowl cover in metal on the side used when smoked outside, c. 1915
portable water pipe the reservoir made of coconut, Calcutta, India, 1910-1920
a Persian woman with a water pipe, wood engraving, hand coloured, c. 1870
cofortably sitting it is time for the narguileh, Turkey, 1910-1920
girl smoking from a narguileh, Algeria, 1910-1920
a woman smoking a narguileh with a long flexible stem, Algeria, 1900-1910
a typical eastern situation:: men sitting outsite smoking the water pipe, Turkey, 1910-1915
a French soldier smokes a water pipe in North-Africa, Maurice Orange, Paris, 1896
man in Arabian costume smoking from a narguileh with wind cap, Israël, 1970-1980
a Turk smoke seller serves his customers from a fresh water pipe, Istanbul, Turkey, c. 1910
a simple water pipe with a container of coconut and a large ceramic bowl, Chiang-Rai, Thailand, 1980-1990
three women with dishes with food and a water pipe, Bethlehem, 1900-1910
Illustrations on this page from the collections of Amsterdam Pipe Museum
Amsterdam - Holland © copyright Pijpenkabinet