A Chinese water pipe
A fine example of a Chinese waterpipe made for smoking tabacco. In contrary to what many people think, these were not used for smoking opium.
This example was made for own use or export to Vietnam, different from the rather cheap made examples for the European market.
Southern China, second half 19th century
Materials: Baitong, Horsehair, Leather (Pig)
Smoking waterpipe was a common thing among the Chinese during the 19th and early 20th century. Many people smoked tabacco with pipes like this. The whole pipe is well made of ‘Paktong’ or by the Chinese named ‘Baitong’.
The small metal water pipe is placed in a box and accompanied by a tobacco jar and all utensils for smoking: a needle, a brush and a tweezer. The metal is normally pakton, (Chinese silver with a high nickel alloy), sometimes embellished with enamel cloisonné or shagreen. They are rarely made of silver.
This example has a carved pigskin case with openwork swastika’s and lucky coins. The tweezer and pipe are decorated with the same symbols.
The tabacco container and pipe are both marked with the shop mark reading: Zao Ji (shop name) , 任升從官 Renshengcongguan (hoping to be promoted to senior officials ) 白 自明 造 Bai Ziming made , and 揀選 selected quality. The other reads: 排記 Pai Ji ( shop name ) , 任升從真 Renshengcongzhen, 白 得兴 造 Bai Dexing made , and 揀選 selected quality .
Condition: Excellent, some minor ware and small dry cracks on the leather which is varnished to maintain it’s quailty.
Copyright by Peter Andeweg 2020
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