Description & Technical information

Tobacco arrived with the first European visitors at the end of the sixteenth century with the discovery of the Marquesas Islands by Álvaro de Mendaña y Neira in 1595, then with the passage of Captain Cook's expedition in 1774 it was an uninterrupted succession of whalers, missionaries and soldiers until the claiming of the archipelago by France in 1842.

Pipe bowl or epaepa (or pioro). A very important pipe adorned with a set of 7 tiki : 4 complete tiki, 2 tiki torsos and a very large tiki face; all carved in high relief and arranged in such a way as to be present and visible from all sides. Carved from a sperm whale's tooth of good dimensions, it is an object of great value and prestige intended for the use of an important man. There are remnants of white metal nails on the upper edge of the stove which suggests that there may have been a European silver insert (?) at one point in time. The bowl shows obvious traces of long and intense use.

Marquesas Islands, Polynesia. Sperm whale tooth (Physeter catodon) with a very nice patina of age and use with wear, accidents and small lacunae. 

Period:  XVIII-XIXth century
Dimensions: 8 cm (3¹/₈ inches)
Provenance: Provenance :
Pierre and Claude Vérité, Paris (before 1951). Christie's Paris - Collection Vérité - Arts of Africa, Oceania and North America : Lot 165, 21 Nov. 2017.
German Private Collection

Publications :
Arts de l’Océanie, Paris, 1951, p. 16, no. 122 (non ill.) Magie du décor dans le Pacifique, collection P.S. Vérité, Paris, 1955, no. 65 (non ill.)

Exhibitions :
Paris, Galerie La Gentilhommière, Arts de l’Océanie, 17 janvier 1951, n° 122 Paris, Galerie Leleu, Magie du décor dans le Pacifique, du 8 au 30 juin 1955, n° 65