19th C. Haida / Tlingit Bone & Nacre Totemic Pipe:
Native American, Pacific Northwest Coast, United States or Canada, Tlingit or Haida, ca. 19th to mid-20th century CE. A beautiful marine mammal bone smoking pipe in the form of totemic animals and a shaman, each figure inlaid with nacre shells. The front receptacle bowl is formed by the upturned beak of a bird, perhaps a raven, the open bill cupping a copper bowl insert. The wings are thrust forward, and a shaman’s head extends from the bird’s back- his ceremonial role discernible by his tall headdress that represents a ceremonial goat horn crown. Facing the opposite direction and forming the inhalation mouthpiece is a zoomorphic creature that represents a frog or other symbolic creature crouching on four legs. The carvings are in the traditional formline style, the wings of the bird displaying the classic ovoid and crescent shapes. Ceremonial smoking was believed to carry prayers into other realms carried by the smoke and aided by totemic animals or shamans, as depicted on this pipe! Size: 6″ L x 1″ W x 3″ H (15.2 cm x 2.5 cm x 7.6 cm)
Provenance: private Brevard, North Carolina, USA collection
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Natural dark bone pitting and ossification and stable striations. Minor nicks to nacre inlays, otherwise pipe is intact and excellent. Remains smoking residue inside receptacle bowl.