Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pipe Bowl (Epaepa or Pioro)

early 19th century
Marquesas Islands
Marquesan (Enata) people
Whale ivory
H. 2 3/8 x W. 1 in. (6 x 2.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Evelyn A. J. Hall, 1986
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 353
The use of tobacco was among the first Western practices adopted widely in
the Marquesas and other areas of Polynesia. By the early nineteenth century,
the Marquesans had begun to create their own pipes (epaepa or pioro). The
use of pipes and tobacco, like many other aspects of Marquesan culture,
was governed by sacred restrictions or tapu. Men and women, for example,
were not permitted to smoke together. Although in widespread use, pipes
remained highly valued objects and were often passed down as heirlooms
or occasionally were buried with their owners. This example is adorned
with three small tiki (human images), whose poses and features closely
resemble those on Marquesan ivory ear ornaments dating to the same
period. Like most Marquesan tiki, the figures likely portray deified ancestors.
Evelyn A. J. Hall, New York, until 1986

Kjellgren, Eric, and Carol S. Ivory. Adorning the World: Art of the Marquesas Islands. New York, New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005, 59, 90-1.

Kjellgren, Eric. Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, 187, 308-9.

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