North America, Native American, Eastern Woodlands, ca. 200 to 1000 CE. A skull effigy pipe skillfully carved from a hard grey stone, presenting an eerie visage delineated with deep eye orbitals flanking a central nasal orbital above a toothy grimace (a delightfully disturbing smile). The base is flat and sits stably. Size: 2.25\" W x 3\" H (5.7 cm x 7.6 cm)
Smoking pipes played an important role in Eastern Woodland culture, which spanned from sub-Arctic Canada to the southern United States. The earliest evidence we have for the use of tobacco in this area comes from ca. 100 to 200 CE; in addition to tobacco, and often prior to it, we know from ethnohistorical accounts that people smoked a variety of other plants, including dogwood, juniper, sumac, and bearberry. These pipes were not just made for the simple act of smoking; they seem to have had a strong religious component as well, and various archaeological sites from the period, including the Hopewell Mound sites, have the remains of hundreds of destroyed platform pipes, including effigy ones like this. Others were buried with their owners individually.
Provenance: ex-Turner collection, Connecticut, USA
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