Pipe bowl

Banka chiefdom, Cameroon Grassfields
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Cameroon


Overall: 16 x 5.5 x 9.5 cm (6 5/16 x 2 3/16 x 3 3/4 in.) Lender Accessory (base): 3.5 x 5.4 x 5.6 cm (1 3/8 x 2 1/8 x 2 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Decorative arts

In local contexts, pipes were once a part of men’s and women’s personal possessions, which were carried in their bags. However, more elaborate pipes such as this one, which depicts a crouching man with bulging cheeks and forehead, were prestige items for important men. To make this type of pipe, the artist would shape a lump of clay into a pipe bowl but then “carve” the features out of the clay using a reductive technique.


in marker under base: "BA" "P1"


1980, sold by Mr. N'Berete, Cambridge, MA, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart