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Gallery Ezakwantu

African Art  - Art Africain - Tribal Art -  菲洲艺术 - Afrikanische Kunst


Central and Southern African Tribal Art

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African Pipes

Tobacco Pipes - Dagga Pipes - Pipes a Tabac Africaines

Afrikanische Pfeife  - Afrikanische Pfeifen









Chokwe Pipes - Angola


Ovambo Pipe - Kwanyama



Chokwe Related Pipe #783 + -  28 cms.


This Chokwe pipe and those to follow, were collected in Angola prior to independence and came to us from a Portuguese collector. The Chokwe call their pipes peshi. The Luchazi and Luvale in Western Zambia refer to their pipes as lichima, lichimbi or licimbi. Below a Chokwe man smokes a very much related status pipe. 




                     Chokwe - Sandoa Congo DRC                                    Ovambo Pipe - Namibia / Angola


Oversized prestigious pipes were smoked by the Chokwe and related groups.




Ovambo Pipe #8759 + - 38 cms


Ovambo pipes are structurally similar to those of the Chokwe. The Ovambo pipe above also came to us in a colonial context. The body and bowl were decoratively wrapped with copper wire, pressed deeply into carved incised patterns on the bowl. Pipes of the Kwanyama very were similar and both groups call their pipes ombiga



Chokwe Gun Pipe #784 + - 19 cms.


This Chokwe pipe is made in the shape of a gun. It is referred to as a 'night gun'  or kaliloze by diviners, said to be able to kill at great distance at night. The pipe is decorated with alternating brass and copper wire in three sections. The bowl has a heavy green serpentine feel, but appears to be made of wood. The mouth piece is unusual. The iron forged section is normally uniform in size and inserted into a wooden hole. Here, a slightly smaller wooden section has been inserted to the perfectly fitted larger iron mouthpiece. Adding to this, the larger side of the mouthpiece was hammered and left thick, allowing for decorative faceted design triangles at the point of contact with the wire covered wood.




Chokwe Gun Pipe #785 + - 34 cms.


Above, a second 'night-gun' pipe. It is nearly double the size of the first and includes an iron cut-out trigger. In addition to copper wire, the stem is decorated with two solid iron bands. As with all Chokwe and related pipes, it and the others inner bowls were lined with iron to protect the wood from burning. Dotted pokerwork highlights four areas of this pipe, as well as the butt of the gun.






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Xhosa - Thembu - Pondo Pipes


Southern African Pipes - Ingawa

Circa 1900 - 1950



Thembu Celebration -  Qwathi - Joan Broster's Trading Store - by Barbara Tyrrell @ Copyright


The indigenous people of Southern Africa smoked Hemp (Cannabis) prior to the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652. The Khoi / Hottentots named it Dagga - a name used by all Southern African language groups to this day. Hemp probably arrived in the region through Arab East African trade. The Portuguese introduced tobacco to Africa from the Americas between the 15th and 16th centuries. Its use became wide spread in the Eastern Cape (Transkei) due to European penetration into the country. Europeans suppressed the use of hemp, while promoting trade in tobacco and glass beads. From this early contact and trade, countless variations of pipes emerged.





Pipes Smoked by Women




Left - Joan Broster with Thembu friends at Qwathi - Photographed by Barbara Tyrrell

Pipes from the Eastern Cape were smoked by men and women and called ingawa. Women smoked long exaggerated pipes that were sometimes beaded - which complemented the smoker's attire.




Mfengu Pipe # 779 + - 31 cms long.


This pipe dates to the first quarter of the 19th century. It is beaded with colours that were popular with the Mfengu or Fingo. The irregular beads are Venetian and date to 1920 or before. This pipe was discovered in a colonial context, confirmed by the very old period hook once used to display on a wall (above top left).




Pipe 'B'  + -  37 cms long.

Above, a beaded Thembu ingawa pipe. Note each of our Xhosa and related pipes includes a custom made stand or mount. Additional image of any pipe available on request. 





During the early 20th century, a pipe in hand was as important to a native as clothing. Pipe 'fashion' developed rapidly and changed along with beaded attire.



Xhosa Pipe 'C'  + - 25 cms long.

This pipe, circa 1940, combines elements of Xhosa and Thembu. The complicated bead colour combinations make it more likely Xhosa from the area around Umtata. The Pondo also lived in the area, which may have influenced the beadwork as well.





Old woman lighting her beaded pipe from flint. - Ivy Albums by Lynn Acutt - Circa 1900




Xhosa Pipe 'D'  + -  43.5 cms long.

This is an exceptionally long beaded Xhosa pipe at over 40 centimetres, dating to the 1950's. People say that female long stem pipes were developed to keep the smoke away from babies carried on a woman's back, but primarily they were fashionable prestige objects.




Gcaleka Pipe 'A'  + - 29 cms long.

The pipe above has its origin with the Xhosa tribe and may well be Thembu or Gcaleka. The two clans overlap south of Qamata in the Cofimvaba district. The Gcaleka are regarded as the purest of the Xhosa speaking tribes because of their royal lineage and their dialect is the one taught in schools as official Xhosa. They were at the forefront of the Nguni migration south and west into the Eastern Cape, later fighting the British.





Xhosa Pipes Smoked by Men





Xhosa Man Smoking -  Duggan-Cronin




Xhosa Pipe 'E'  + -  17.5 cms long.

Pipes smoked by men were distinctly shorter than those of women and rarely beaded. However they can be more complicated in design, such as the early 20th century example above. Note that draw had to travel around two 90 degree bends to arrive at the stem.






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East African Water Pipe


19th Century Collected Swahili Pipe


Letzte Reise von David Livingstone in Centralafrika - 1872 - Vol ll - Page 53 - Zanzibar

Above, Livingstone's servant Chuma is shown smoking a water pipe made from bamboo. Below, a related early collected water pipe with six poker worked Union Jack flags.



East African Pipe 'F' + -  44 cms


North, East and Southern Africans used water pipes to cool and mitigate the effects of marijuana (dagga, hemp, cannabis). The practice of cooling and cleansing the smoke of a tobacco pipe by drawing it through water was not followed in the Americas, nor was it very popular among Europeans.





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Galerie Ezakwantu

Southern African Tribal Art - African Art 


Central and Southern African Tribal Art


Art Africain      頂级菲洲艺术品中心     Afrikanische Kunst     Außereuropäische Kunst




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