Tobacco pipes from Cameroun

Cameroon has by far the most elaborate smoking culture in Africa. On the flat highlands of Cameroon, the Grasslands, the tobacco pipes is a highly respected item, both as a daily commodity and as an object with solemn ceremonial function.

There is a choice in materials used: bronze cast in the lost-wax method and ceramic, carved from a solid block of clay rather than sculpted. The common bronze tobacco pipe has a oval shaped bowl and up-going stem. The pipes were sold for the weight of the bronze.

The Cameroon bronze casters have developed a high standard of technical skills and artistic creativity. Soldiers, sometimes in full length, depicting the uniformed German colonizers from the 1900’s are very popular. Apart from that type impressing bronze pipes with masks are typical Cameroon. The features of the masks, with emphasis on blown cheeks or almond-shaped eyes as the examples shown, refer to the various tribes.

The ceramic pipes are either decorated with a geometrical (running) pattern, or figural. The figural bowls display the highly developed culture of masks in all their variety: sometimes portraits, sometimes complete humans or animals, all in the specific tribal style. The over-all shape, high rising bowl with nearly parallel shaft for a separate wooden stem, they all have in common.

Some pipes are made in wood and are related to the European briar. A rare example in ivory is more or less a copy of a ceramic pipe.

The most general and most simple tobacco pipe made by thousants in bronze. Cameroun, 1920-1950. Pipe bowl in bronze with attractive geometrical shape, on the front of the bowl modelled in relief a sitting bird. Cameroun, Grasslands,1920-1940.
Tobacco pipe in lost wax method with a funnel shaped bowl and an upgoing stem, simple decoration with geometrical patterns. Cameroun, Grasslands, 1920-1950.
Beautiful portrait pipe bowl in lost wax method with a characteristic face with blown cheeks and ornamental hairs. Cameroun, Fumban, 1920-1950.
Large bronze pipe with human face and ornamental stem mainly produced for ceremonies than for smoking. Cameroun, Bamum, 1950-1970.
Simple iron pipe bowl with cilindrical shape on three feet, decorated with geometrical patterns in bronze. Cameroun, 1900-1940.
Beautiful figural pipe showing a German soldier with a gun over his shoulders, in the upgoing stub a long wooden stem is placed. Cameroun, 1910-1940.
Tobacco pipes in brass showing colonial influence, the bowl represents the head of a German soldier wearing a cap. Cameroun, Grasslands, 1910-1920.
Another portrait pipe in bronze of a German soldier wearing a cap, separate bronze stem with wooden mouthpiece. Cameroun. 1920-1940.
Finely modelled pipe bowl in ceramic showing along the bowl opening four oval masks. Cameroun, Grasslands, 1880-1920.
Characteristic terra cotta pipe bowl with repetitif geometrical decorations, in contrast the base and bowl opening with other patterns. Cameroun, Grasslands, 1900-1930.
Pipe bowl shaped like a mask of a human with blown cheeks, the head dress decorated with two snakes. Cameroun, Glasslands, 1860-1900.
Oval shaped pipe bowl, on the bottom a moist trap that is closed with a wooden button. Cameroun, 1880-1920.
Pipe with a cilindrical bowl decorated with a repetitive pattern, the base shows a portrait mask in the characteristic way. Cameroun, Bamum, 1880-1920.
Pipe bowl showing a sitting person, the head dress on both sides with rosettes. Cameroun, Grasslands, 1920-1950.
A standing figure along the front of a tall pipe bowl, here the person is not carved but modelled in the clay. Cameroun, 1970-1980.
Pipe bowl in ceramic with above each other three masks, remarkable is the band between the bowl and the stem. Cameroun, 1900-1950.
A figure pipe with a very strong design, carved from a lumb of clay and representative for the best years of the Grassland pipe craft. Cameroun, 1890-1940.
Portrait pipe with a stilized mask between explicit bands filled in with geometrical patterns. Cameroun, 1900-1940.
Early portrait pipe with characteristic circular eyes and covered with an attractive red engobe. Cameroun, Bamum, 1850-1900. Figure pipe in terra cotta with a remarkable stilisation in geometrical patterns. Cameroun, Grasslands, 1830-1860.
Tobacco pipe made from ivory showing a sitting person, the bowl interior covered with sheet metal, upgoing stem in ivory. Cameroun, Grasslands, 1950-1980. met
Wooden pipe with beaker shaped bowl, heel and typical band between the bowl and stub, upgoing separate stem. Cameroun, 1920-1940.
Wooden pipe of large size, the bowl interior lined with aluminium, a separate upgoing stem. Cameroun, 1920-1940.

Amsterdam Pipe Shop is specialized in collectors items on pipes
and smoking © copyright Pijpenkabinet Foundation, Amsterdam