Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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paipak “pipe”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

When they put their tobacco in there to smoke it they’d take just a little pinch… They stuffed that in there, then they’d light a stick match and wait until that smoke cleared off. Then they’d puff but you’d never see any smoke coming out of their nostrils; they’d just swallow it. How they did it, I don’t know.

—Jacob Ahwinona, 2001

Traditional tobacco pipes had flaring, circular bowls, a style that originated in China or Japan. As with tobacco, the earliest pipes arrived through Siberian exchange networks, followed by direct contact with Russian traders. Pipe bowls - made of stone, ivory, copper, brass or lead - were small and held just enough tobacco to smoke in one or a few puffs. This pipe has a cast lead or pewter bowl, leather-wrapped wooden body, rifle-cartridge mouthpiece, and cleaning tool on a beaded strap.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Norton Sound, Alaska
Village: St. Michael
Object Category: Tobacco
Dimensions: Length: 19.2cm
Accession Date: 1878
Source: Edward W. Nelson (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E032870