Smoking pipes from Asia

It seems impossible to cover all Asian pipes on one single web page. Primarily there is the distinction between water pipes and the dry smoking pipe. The first category cools down the smoke by guiding it through the water that filters at the same time.

The bowl of a water pipe is easily confused with another typical Asian pipe: the chillum, which has a fluted shape and is usually smoked with hashish. A water pipe bowl has commonly an end with rims in order to fit steadily onto the stem. Sometimes it is fit with a cover.

Very attractive because of the fine carvings and the beautiful coloring by aging are pipes made out of ivory. A disadvantage to the smoker is that the material is not well absorbing, resulting in a rather wet smoke. Due to the changes in temperature ivory has a risk to crack, as you can see in the pipe that is restored with a decorated silver band.

The most common pipe is, apart from some clay pipes, a metal pipe, strong and therefore suitable for traveling. A metal pipe is likely to get hot very quickly and will give an unpleasant moist smoke. Techniques of production can be casting in bronze, brass or silver. Asian metal pipes make a popular souvenir, being exotic and uncommon for Western travelers, but the original design is not always followed, sometimes even functioning as a smoking pipe is forgotten.

Wooden pipe decorated with sheet silver bands with geometrical patterns. 1950-1970. Two ceramic pipe bowls with iron top to protect the charcoal from falling out. Jemen, 1920-1940.
A series of different water pipe bowls in bronze, all of them decorated in one or another way. India, 1850-1900.
White metal water pjpe bowl nicely engraved and inlayed with copper motives. India, 1870-1900.
Beautiful pear shaped reservoir of a water pipe inlayed with brass and white metal. India, 1800-1850.
A heavy cast bronze water pipe bowl in brass with geometrical decorations. Afghanistan, 1880-1910.
Brass water pjpe bowl with uneven surface and with a dome shaped lid, on the top a sitting bird. India, 1900-1930.
A strong shaped water pipe bowl finished with a nicely shaped lid with button. India, 1860-1900.
Pipe bowl shaped like a bearded man made in ceramic in the style of the cheap Turkish meerschaum pipe bowls. Egypt, 1970-1980.
A beautiful carved ivory cigarette holder with conic shape and decorated with various wild animals. China, 1850-1900. A characteristic pipe with a funnel shaped bowl and relatively long straight stem, red polished engobe on the surface. Iraq, 1800-1870.
An ivory cigarette holder decorated with a silver ornamental band, showing a beautiful patina. China, 1860-1890.
An ivory cigarette holder with flattened ends shaped like a stilized dragons head. China, 1880-1920.
Curios tobacco pipe made from a beer tap embellished with some metal decorations, long wooden stem that twists. Nepal, 1890-1920.
Simple wooden pipes lined with metal and decorated with silver bands, the mouthpiece in a primitive vulcanite. Thailand, Karen, 193-1960.
Tobacco pipe in cast brass all over decorated with geometrical patterns. India, Orissa, 1870-1900.
Tobacco pipe in low alloy silver with a long upgoing two parted stem around a wooden interior. Birma, 1880-1900.
Three bronze pipe bowls cast after ceramic examples with typical carvings from a local tribe. Birma, Lanna, 1870-1910.
Tobacco pipe made out of a low alloy silver, the bowl standing on the stem that turns round and goes upward. Birma, 1880-1900.
Bronze pipe bowl with characteristic heel shape where the bowl ends in the stem, ring to secure the bowl to the stem. Sumatra, Batak, 1880-1920.
Long bamboo pipe with incised geometrical decorations. New-Guinee, Papoa, 1930-1950.
Wooden pipe bowl shaped like a sitting figure, the bowl interior lined with sheet metal, the stem in silver. Indonesia, Nias, 1900-1920.
Souvenir pipes made in lwhite metal, the bowls referring to birds, a lid on the bowls, usually sold as opium pipes. Thailand, 1990-2000.
Wooden pipe bowl shaped like a sitting figure, the pipe bowl represents a cooking pot in front of her, the stem in silver. Indonesia, Nias, 1900-1920.
Cigarette holder in silver shaped like a dragon's head. Indonesia, Djokja, 1980-1990.

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