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Meerschaum tobacco pipe bowl, Europe, 1860-1900

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Carved from meerschaum (a soft clay like mineral), the tobacco pipe bowl is in the shape of a male African-American’s head. This type of decoration was common on tobacco pipes and was linked with the tobacco plantations where many enslaved African people were forced to harvest the crop, especially in the United States. Tobacco smoking was enjoyed for its nicotine boost and its taste. The black staining around the opening suggests it has been heavily used. The stem of the pipe is missing.

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Glossary: smoking

A practice where a substance, most commonly tobacco is burned and the smoke inhaled. It is currently practiced by over one billion people worldwide (2008)

Glossary: meerschaum tobacco pipe

No description.

Glossary: tobacco

No description.

Glossary: nicotine

A chemical compound that forms 0.6-3.0 per cent of the dry weight of tobacco. Nicotine acts as a stimulant in mammals, and is one of the primary reasons for smoking addiction.