Base for a Water Pipe (Huqqa) with Irises

Object Name: Water pipe base

Date: late 17th century

Geography: Attributed to India, Deccan, Bidar

Medium: Zinc alloy; cast, engraved, inlaid with brass (bidri ware)

Dimensions: H. 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm)
Diam. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm)

Classification: Metal

Credit Line: Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art and Rogers Fund, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.221


This huqqa base, with irises and other flowers, would have originally been fitted with a long stem supporting a brazier and a pipe through which the smoker would have inhaled. Many of the known examples of huqqa bases from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were made in the Deccan and decorated with the type of metal inlay known as bidri, in which the base metal of the object is darkened through a chemical process in order to highlight the inlaid metal of the ornament.