Saturday, September 15, 2018

Early 20th Century Ngbaka Pipe

In 1924 amateur photographer Casimir Zagourski (1883-1944)

moved to Leopoldville, Congo, to open a photographic studio.

Casimir Zagourski in his studio in Kinshasa - 1925

Over the following twenty years he would bravely crisscross the region

Expedition Photographie, C. Zagourski, 1934 Ford Panel Van

 to carefully document

what he would later refer to as "A Vanishing Africa".


Among the hundreds of pictures he published, one features two Ngbaka elders solemnly smoking their strikingly curved wood and metal pipes.

Ngbaka pipes in private collections and museums reveal that beyond a shared elegant curvature,

Private Collection

each pipe retains its unicity in the finesse 

The Royal Museum for Central Africa Collection, Belgium

and level of abstraction of its figural carving.

Private Collection

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

1851 Austrian Meerschaum Masterpiece

Behold this strikingly handsome meerschaum pipe bowl in pristine condition: bas-relief carving on the underside and on the shank,

and on the front, the high-relief-carved, double eagle of the Austrian Empire in exquisite detail. 

Add to this the chased silver shank band and the domed, silver wind cover, consisting of a snake-like thumb lift and ornately crafted finial of the goddess Athena, a statue of which is outside the Austrian Parliament, and the result? A dramatic masterpiece evoking excellent workmanship, intricate design elements, and skill.

Austria-Hungary, 1851,Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, Budapest. 

Source: Alexander Nikolaus u. Walter Schantl, Europäische Prunk-Meerschaumpfeifen der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts, Wien, 2005,106)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Early 20th Century Sukuma/Nyamwezi Tanzania Pipe

The Sukuma and Nyamwezi of Tanzania 

By Happiness Stephen - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

 carved powerful sculptures such as this fetish figure

fetish figure. Nyamwezi – Tanzania
H – 39 cm

or this elongated and enigmatic figural pipe.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Exceptional Eastern Sioux Catlinite Pipe Bowl 1870's

This 1870's sculptural elbow shaped catlinite pipe bowl 

Eastern Sioux catlinite pipe bowl, 1870, measuring 4.25 inches

  stands out in more ways than one...

from afar

or close-up...


 And while this is not Michelangelo's work

Detail of Michelangelo's David, 1501-1504, Academia Gallery, Florence

this level of anatomical detail, down to the arch and toes,

points to a late 19th century native american master pipe carver of exception.

Courtesy Cowan's Auctions

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hector & Andromache Cheroot Holder

Hector's Farewell to Andromache by Gavin Hamilton, 1775

Cheroot Holder, Hector's Farewell to Andromache, Germany/Austria 1850-1870

Detail of Hector's Farewell to Andromache by Gavin Hamilton

Detail of Cheroot Holder, Hector's Farewell to Andromache

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Imperial Porcelain Pipe

The French Imperial Eagle stands on top of the world, inscribed with the names of the countries France was in war with at the turn of the 19th century: Espagne, Autriche, Turquie, Italie, Pologne, Russie, Belgique, Sardaigne, Portugal and Hollande.

Around the basis is the text: "Napoléon Bonaparte, Empereur"

and "Honneur à l' Armée Française" .

Behind the semi-spread wings of the eagle is a tower which forms the furnace of the pipe.

At the base of the tower is a small statue of Napoléon.

On the tower walls are the names of the battlefields the French army led by Napoleon fought.


and on the other side, a tree in high relief.

The pipe is made of fine porcelain (porcelaine de Paris?), fully glazed and decorated with gold paint (enamel?). It stands 6.4 cm. tall and measures 6 cm measured from the front of the ball to the rim of the stub-stem. 

Made in France, ca. 1880.

Original text and Photos Courtesy of Académie Internationale de la Pipe

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jockey Cheroot Holders

Late 19th century high-relief-carved jockey,

From the Arno Ziestnitz Meerschaum Pipe Collection

with boots of jet and amber.

Dimensions: 6" x 2-1/2" x 1-½

The cap, pipe, and crop are exquisitely detailed in richly colored amber.

By the same talented carver, a free standing variation on the same theme...