Smoking implements from China and Japan

The Chinese smoker has traditionally the choice out of two. The first is the long stemmed dry smoking pipe, used for tobacco. This type looks like an old Western-European pipe, but made out of another material. The alternative is the water pipe that has seen a distinctive development in China. At home people smoke a pipe with a rather large water reservoir with the pipe bowl on top, made out of bamboo or copied in metal. A long, slightly curved bamboo stem makes that you can smoke in any position. Many of these pipes are beautifully decorated with inlay in silver or mother of pearl of flowers, landscapes or a bird.

Practical smoking sets are made for traveling: water pipe, tobacco box and the various instruments share a kind of box that can be attached to the belt with a hook. Most of these pipes are made out of pakton, an alloy of white metal or, as it is called, Chinese silver. The alloy of nickel and zinc provide a white shiny surface when polished. The boxes of these water pipes are decorated in various ways, sometimes engraved, sometimes with colorful enamel.

A special way of smoking is opium smoking, for which a specific kind of pipe is invented, characterized by the globular bowl or damper in which the moist and substance from the opium damp can precipitate.

Japan has little variation in smoking implements, but instead a typical pipe, called kiseru This metal pipe, sometimes with a bamboo stem, has a tiny bowl, but is still meant for smoking a heavy kind of tobacco.

The most common bamboo pipe from South-East Asia with a metal saddle in which an extremely small pipe bowl is placed. China, 1880-1920. Two metal tobacco pipes admired because of its rustic wooden stems and mouthpieces of a by tar and nicotine absorbed brown coloured ivory. China, 1870-1900.
Detail of the root part of the bamboo pipe housing the small pipe bowl. China, 1880-1920.
Metal water pipe inspired on a bamboo example, the lower half was filled with water to cool the smoke. China, 1860-1910.
Bamboo water pjpe mounted with silver and in the wood inlay in mother of pearl of flowers, birds flying around. China, 1870-1900.
The famous Chinese smoke set consisting of a long stemmed water pipe and a tobacco jar placed in a hoder finished with shark skin. China, 1860-1890.
The smoke set to take with you when visiting friends: the pipe and the tobacco jar with in between the smoke tools. China, 1890-1910.
Miniature water pipe in its holder decorated with email cloisonne in colors. China, 1880-1900.
Detail of a water pjpe in white metal with decoration in relief, in the front a brush and a pair of pincettes to use during the smoke ceremony. China, 1870-1890.
Miniature water pipe in cloisonne on Chinese white metal, here the color is near to our brass. China, 1880-1900. Long stemmed Chinese water pipe placed in a holder with colorfull email showing a Chinese knot. China, 1890-1910.
Water pipe, the box decorated with a carved decoration filled in with blue enamel, original red string for hanging. China, 1870-1890.
Two tubular tobacco pipes in cloisonnee with colorfull enamel, in the bowl a movable screen to place the tobacco and remove the ashes. China, 1880-1910.
Unusual opium damper made from a two parted box, on the lid a yellow dragon. China, 1910-1930.
Pipe bowl or damper of an opium pipe with six sided shape in stone, the small bowl is found on the top. China, 1870-1900.
Unusual opium damper in light green jade, the zigzag ribbon is made by drilling the material round the bowl. China, 1900-1920.
Top view of the opium damper showing a yellow dragon. China, 1910-1930.
Kiseru placed in a kiserutzu, a pipe holder together with the tonkotsu, a tobacco box. Japan, 1880-1900.
The famous Japanse kiseru with its small pipe bowl and its bamboo stem. Japan, 1900-1920.

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