(Collection: Arjan de Haan)
The clay pipe bowl is made of siderolith, a very hard baking type of pottery (Fig. 1). One of the most well-known manufacturers of this type of pipe was Leyhn in Pirna (Bohemia) and based on the manufacturing date and the quality of this clay pipe it is likely that Leyhn is the manufacturer. The pipe has magnificent fitments made of gold-plated brass, especially crafted for this pipe and matching the ferrules on the stem and decoration of the mouthpiece.
Fig. 1: Fig. 1: Detail of the bowl with its gold-plated brass fitments.
The mouthpiece is an Ottoman work of art, finely crafted from Baltic amber and considerably larger (longer) then it’s more common local counterparts. The mouthpiece measures over 16cm in length. The butterscotch coloured bulbous part alone measures 9.5cm (Fig. 2). A comparable mouthpiece was the centrepiece of a sultanic collection sold at Sotheby's (Fig. 3).
The stem is made of deep black ebony, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. It unscrews into three sections for easy transportation. Where the sections connect, gold-plated (or possibly gold) ferrules are fitted. The ferrules, as well as the mouthpiece, are adorned with precious or semi-precious stones.
The pipe is stored in a heavy Makassar wood veneered case, lined with green velvet and cream coloured silk. The lid is finely inlaid with mother-of-pearl, depicting a Chinese nobleman smoking a pipe while seated in a litter carried by two servants (Fig. 4). The case is dated 1837. The complete length of the pipe is 103cm.
Fig. 4: The complete pipe with its Makassar wood case
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Fig.2 (left): mouthpiece and Fig.3 (right): similar mouthpieces recently sold at Sothebys.