Buddha Belly Bamboo Pipe

c. 1900
W: 3.5" D: 4.0" H: 66.0"
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This sculptural form is actually a 19th century pipe made from a special type of bamboo that bulges between growth lines like a “Buddha's belly”. The shaft looks too long to hold comfortably, but the length helped filter the smoke. This special type of bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa), commonly called “Buddha belly bamboo”, is created by artisans who regulate the water and root space to train the bamboo to grow with the characteristic bulges that have inspired its colorful name. Smoking out of bamboo pipes was a popular pastime in China for relaxation as well as for the delivery of medicinal remedies to treat malaria, colds, and other ailments.

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