Pipes from Africa

Touring through Africa we encounter a wide selection of tobacco and other smoking pipes. The Massai use animal bone to make a pipe. Congolese tribes have a tradition in covering a nut with brown glue to fabricate their pipes. Artistically very advanced are pipes from the Gold tribes of Asante (Ghana). These ceramic pipes illustrate the proverbs so common in their culture and language. The woman potters made these refined pipes out of fine red or black clay, of which the incised decoration is highlighted by white chalk. The northern Ghanese tribes have simple, coarser pipes, either pot shaped or sculpted as human figures.

In Congo most pipes are made out of wood, mostly finished with a bone mouthpiece. The Kuba tribe has its characteristic wooden horn-like pipes, decorated with intricate carved patterns.

Other African tribes, such as the Yaka, use pipes that are clearly inspired by the common European briar pipe. Only the carved decoration gives them an African look. Since most of the used wood is too soft for a proper pipe, the bowl is normally lined with sheet metal.

South-African tribes were influenced by Dutch colonists and shaped their pipes in soapstone according to the Dutch clay pipe or the German Ulm pipe. However, the most common South-African pipe is a wooden pipe made out of one single piece of wood, forming a high slender bowl and a long stem at a 60° angle, in some cases embellished with strings of beads.

Tobacco pipe carved from an animal bone. Massai, 1970-1990. Pot shaped pipe made out of a fruit covered with glue. Congo, 1970-19990.
Pipe bowl in red baking clay the incized decoration filled in with chalk. Ghana, Asante, 1850-1900.
Pipe bowl in ceramic, the decoration refers to a proverb. Ghana, Asante, 1830-1880. Pipe bowl in black backing clay, in the middle the bowl shows an animal that refers to a proverb. Ghana, Asante, 1830-1880.
Tobacco pipe in cast bronze in a typocal Lobi style, over the surface decorated with geometrical patterns, Ghana, Lobi, 1900-1940.
Tobacco pipe depicting a kneeled woman with bulbous stomac, tatoes over the body, the hands on her breasts, Ghana, Lobi, 1920-1950.
Terra cotta pipe bowl depicting a woman sitting on a stool a child in her lap, the decoration partly rubbed with white chalk. Ghana, Lobi, 1930-1960.
Large ceramic pipe bowl representing two sitting persons and a child, the opening for the tobacco on the side of the pipe. Ghana. Fra-fra, 1950-1980.
Unusual carved pipe bowl in clay of a negro head with short hair, upgoing stem with small stub. Ghana, Fra-Fra, 1950-1980.
An extreme large tobacco pipe depicting two sitting persons, the bowl opening on the side of the sculpture. Ghana, Fra-Fra, 1930-1980.
Kneeled person holding a cooking pot on the left knee, the pot is the bowl of the pipe, the stem bore is in the base. Ghana. Fra-Fra, 1960-1985.
Unusual wooden pipe, the bowl on a six-fingered hand, a person depicted along the stem, the bowl interior lined with metal. Congo, Yaka, 1940-1970.
Two wooden pipes with upgoing stems over all decorated with geometrical patterns. Congo, Kuba, 1930-1960.
Wooden figural pipe with characteristic bowl shape, on the inside sheet metal. Congo, Kuba ?, 1930-1950.
A reclyning figurre with the small pipe bowl on the stomac, the mouthpiece above the head. Congo, Luba, 1920-1960.
Simple geometrical pipe with figiral depiction and geometrical decorations, the bowl interior lined with aluminium, an aluminium stem. Congo, Yaka, 1930-1960.
A human head placed on a monkey like animal makes this pipe to an unusual design, the stem upgoing. Congo, 1940-1970.
Wooden pipe with figural bowl and two parted wooden stem usually finishing is a bone mouthpiece. Congo, Kuba ?, 1930-1950.
In style a European pipe but here on the front of the bowl a carved decoration, simple upgoing wooden stem. Congo, Yaka, 1900-1940.
Wooden pipe with on the front of the bowl a penis, the bowl interior lined with aluminium. Congo, Yaka, 1930-1960.
A wooden portrait pipe based on the European briar, the stem separates from the bowl. Congo, Yaka ?, 1900-1930.
A pipe insoft wood with on the stem carved in relief a standing animal, bowl interior and stem in aluminium. Congo, Yaka, 1940-1970.
Carved in wood a portrait of a bearded man, the stub with aluminium ferrule. Congo, Yaka ?, 1960-1980.
Another pipe based on the European briar, here added the sculpture of a sitting person on the front of the bowl. Congo, Yaka, 1940-1970.
Pipe in softwood with on the stem a sitting human, aluminium fitting. Congo, Yaka, 1940-1970.
Wooden pipe with round the bowl three standing figures, mounting in aluminium. Congo, Yaka, 1950-1970.
Water pipe the reservoir in buffalo horn with a bamboo stem and bowl in serpentine stone. South Africa, Bush men, 1900-1940.
Water pjpe from a gourd with a long upgoing stem, the bowl in ceramic in elbow shape and decorated with geometrical patterns. Congo, Tabwa, 1940-1980. Small water pipe the reservoir in pig skin, the bowl is black backed clay. Egypt, 1950-1980.
Tobacco pipe made of buffelo horn emding ia a bowl. Africa, 1900-1940.
Tobacco pipe with oval bowl and heel, along the bowl opening a band with geometrical patterns. South-Africa, Khoikhoi, 1860-1900.
Wooden pipe with four sided bowl, on the stem in relief a reclining person. Africa, unknown, 1900-1940.
Beautiful pipe bowl in serpentine stone based on the German Ulm style pipe bowl. South-Africa, Khoikhoi, 1880-1900.
Pipe bowl shaped like a European canon, a lid is attached with a cord on the bowl, two coloured ceramic. Angola, Yombe, 1850-1900.
Tabakspijp van serpentijnsteen, de vorm voert terug op de Goudse pijp. Zuid-Afrika, Khoikhoi, 1880-1910.
Wooden pipes with high narrow bowls, sometimes heeled and an upgoing stem, the interiors lined with sheet metal. South-Africa, Xhosa, 1880-1920,.

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