Cherokee Circular Peace or Chief’s Pipe

Cherokee Circular Peace or Chief’s Pipe


Region/Tribe: Southeast – Tennessee / Cherokee

Circa: Pre Contact / Southeast Mound Culture

Materials: White Sandstone

Dimensions: Diameter 3 3/4” by Height 2 1/2”

Condition: Excellent. Rich patina. No Restoration.

Description: This is a large circular pipe with a large bowl and six projecting stem holes. It displays remarkable symmetry, exceptional sculptural detail and a finely finished surface.

Collection History: Deaccessioned from a New York State Historical Society. There are three labels and an historical society collection number. The collection was assembled between 1870 and 1930. The primary label reads: “From a mound on Chickamauga Creek. Hamilton Co. Tenn.”

References: West, George A., Tobacco, Pipes and Smoking Customs of the American Indians, Part I and II, Milwaukee, WI, 1934. See Part II, plates 166 &167, pp.812-816. Three of the six examples sited on plate 166 are also of white sandstone. They are all from the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. Part I: “…They had also a great pipe, carved from white stone, with seven stem-holes, so that seven men could sit around and smoke from it at once at their peace councils.” (p.226)

Comments: This is a particularly refined example with specific provenience to a mound in Tennessee. This pipe is a masterfully executed example of an extremely rare and important form. This is not a personal pipe, but rather

a tribal pipe held by a bundle keeper and reserved for important ceremonial occasions.

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