South African serpentine Pipe


This featured pipe is a "marriage"of two worlds. The slender pipe bowl is made of a finely grained serpentine stone. The pipe bowl is shaped like a German "Ulmer KLoben", with a thin, rounded keel. The thin walled pipe bowl strongly resembles the shape and dimensions of the famous wooden Xhosa pipes. This in itself is a combination of African and European influence in a locally manufactured product.    

This type of pipe is typically fitted with a stub-stem (see examples in the Amsterdam Pipe Museum), but this example has a thin stem section. This made it possible to fit a natural Baltic amber stem by use of a silver ferrule to the serpentine pipe bowl. This configuration is typical for pipes from Europe and the USA. This pipe is fitted with a felt lined case. It was made towards the end of the 19th century.

Although the pipe bowl was manufactured in South Africa, the fitments indicate it was clearly intended for use by westerners. 

This pipe measures 13.7 cm. long, measured from the tip of the mouthpiece to the furthest part of the pipe bowl. The stone pipe bowl is 5.9 cm. tall.

Fig. 1. The complete pipe displayed in the fitted case.

Fig. 2. Detail of the serpentine pipe bowl showing the fine wood grain pattern.

Fig. 3. Detail of the Baltic amber pipe stem.

Fig. 4. detail from the rim of the pipe bowl.

If you have any further comments you would like to make about this pipe, please contact us at 

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