Royal Pipe Furnace
Bamum people, Cameroon Grasslands
First half of the 20th Century
Large ceramic pipes are very important symbols of authority in Bamum chiefdoms and those particular big pipes where usually not smoked but, instead, symbolically carried to the mouth. This explains why most don't have residue in the furnace.
This ceramic Royal pipe furnace represents a monkey sitting on a throne with two snakes, symbols of power, joining on the forehead.
It is extremely difficult to date these pipe furnaces. Many entered German museum as early as 1890. I have noticed that older examples carry more details and have a better ceramic quality and a "softer" surface. I thus date this one (as well as the other ones presented in that special collection) to the first half of the 20th Century. But it could be much older as I found all of them in the same old french colonial collection where I found the two 19th century containers.
Note a very similar pipe in the collection of the Museum of Tervuren (illustrated and photo here, Inv # 68.7.147 - Thank you Andrea for the reference)
H: 13 cm (5 1/4 inches)
Price : 1500 Euros enquiry