Friday, July 30, 2010
Original Burl Pipe
I found this wonderful little original pipe on eBay around the turn of the last century. I just knew if I looked hard and long enough I would find a burl wood pipe. The seller told me it had come from a trunk of personal effects belonging to a man that had passed away at nearly 100 years old in Ashtabula, Ohio near Lake Erie. The seller did not know if the man was Native American nor any other details.
The pipe is just a fraction longer than 13" total. The stem hole and the rim of the bowl are both cast in lead or leaded pewter. I think it's most likely the latter, as pure lead is very soft and there are very few dinks along the edges. The wood species of the bowl I believe is maple burl and is very dark from smoking and age. The stem (ash?), appears to be original and has a dark, glossy sheen from much use and handling.
The design of the bowl is made along the lines of larger Calumets or "Peace Pipes", those ceremonial pipes made to share. I believe because of it's small size, this pipe was intended for use as a personal smoking pipe and not designed for ritual use.
I hesitate estimating the age of this pipe. By design, it could have been made before 1800. I can only speculate as to a tribal association...the prow and the bowl of the pipe bears some resembalance to the catlinite Calumet smoked at the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. There are also catlinite pipes made by the Northern Plains people that are nearly identical in architecture.