FASCINATING AND UNUSUAL wooden hand carved character pipe. The seller told us he had purchased this pipe years ago as Canadian Metis (we have owned for over 30 years) along the Canadian border in the eastern United States. It is so interesting! The stem was originally a tree branch, which shows where the smaller limbs were removed. The mouth end is hand carved and shows the whittle marks plus a few bite marks. The bark was left on the stem and at some point it was lacquered, however, most of the bark and the lacquer are gone. The stem twists (screws) onto the carved bowl (the screw is hand carved also on the stem). The bowl is a work of art! It is a piece of natural root (?) which the artist has hand carved into 3 long beaked birds (?). Each of the carved birds have tiny shells for their eyes and each has a shaped beak with a mouth and what appears to be shaggy hair or textured feathers. The color is a deep medium brown with some golden and red highlights. I think the color is natural and has darkened with age and possibly the original lacquer.
CONDITION: Two of the beaks have nicks on their ends. The smaller creature has a hole and a chip where possibly an ear (?) would have been. All work appears to be by hand. The pipe itself shows very light use.
CIRCA: ????? My best guess is very early 1900's, could be older though.
SIZE: Overall Length: 28 1/2", Stem Length (including the part that screws onto the bowl): 24", Pipe Bowl: 8" by 6"
SPECIAL NOTE: I have not seen or handled very much Metis material. I am attributing the pipe to the Metis because of a verbal comment at the time of purchase. If you know differently, please, let me know! Thanks!
ABOUT THE METIS: The Metis culture is 1 of 3 aboriginal populations in Canada. The Metis people incorporated aspects of both the French-Canadian fur trappers and the Native population of Canada. Many French-Canadian fur trappers at the height of the fur trade business married Native women in the 1700's and 1800's from several tribes. Included are the: Cree, Ojibwe, and the Saulteaux.
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