Date Made/Found: 1890-1910
Material and Medium: copper alloy (brass, bronze)
Dimensions: Overall: 80 x 90 x 220mm (3 1/8 x 3 9/16 x 8 11/16in.)
Place Object Found:
Pipe bowl cast in the lost-wax method and in distinctive style of the north-eastern Yoruba villages of Obo Ile or Obo Ayegunle, Kwara State in Nigeria. It is elaborative depicting an upside-down figure attached with bells straddling the pipe bowl and a cockerel or crested bird’s head surmounting the hinged lid. It would have been used to smoke locally grown tobacco with a wooden pipe stem perhaps two or three feet in length.
It has been suggested that this maybe a 'joke' piece casted in one of the Obo villages in Kwara state. Someone might have seen it elsewhere, copied the idea and got the local casters to make a similar one which explains its upside down face, hands and legs. Local casters made all sorts of things and many not necessary for ritual purposes.
The metalworkers of Obo villages created all kinds of objects using the lost-wax casting method. The process starts by taking softened wax to make a mould, which is then plunged into water to cool before layers of clay are applied to it. The clay mould is later fired, melting the wax and allowing it to be drained away. Scraps of metal like brass are heated in a crucible before being poured into the hollow mould. The clay outer mould is then broken to extract the finished product.