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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








Xhosa - Thembu - Pondo Pipes


Southern African Pipes - Ingawa

Circa 1900 - 1950



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


Natives in Southern Africa smoked Hemp (Cannabis) prior to the arrival of van Riebeeck in 1652. The 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 both men and women and called ingawa. Women smoked long exaggerated pipes that were sometimes beaded - which complemented the smoker's attire.




Gcaleka Pipe 'A'  + - 29 cms long.

The pipe above has origins to the Xhosa tribe and maybe from the 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.




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.




Xhosa Pipes Smoked by Men





Xhosa Man Smoking -  Duggan-Cronin




Xhosa Pipe 'E'  + -  17.5 cms long.

Pipes smoked by men were markedly 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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Ovambo Pipe - Kwanyama


Angola / Namibia



Oversized prestigious pipes were smoked by Chokwe and related groups headmen and chiefs. Ovambo pipes are structurally similar to those of the Chokwe.



Ovambo Pipe + - 38 cms


This Ovambo or related pipe came to us in a colonial context. The main body is wrapped with copper wire, the bowl over deep carved incised patterns. Pipes of the Kwanyama were similar. Both groups called these pipes ombiga.




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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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