Eagle Platform Pipe
Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
In ancient times the hawk was associated with the noonday sun, forces of nature, and summer activities. This pipe bowl, which would have been attached to a wood stem, may have represented a family crest. Such a finely sculpted pipe bowl would have been treasured and given the clan owner great status. The smoke would have sent “prayers” into the sky and called down the sacred spirits.
Stone, lead eyes
3 3/8 x 1 3/16 x 4 5/16 in. (8.6 x 3.0 x 11.0 cm) (show scale)
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Hopewell. Eagle Platform Pipe, 1-400 C.E. Stone, lead eyes, 3 3/8 x 1 3/16 x 4 5/16 in. (8.6 x 3.0 x 11.0 cm). Anonymous loan, L49.3.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, L49.3.1_profile_PS9.jpg)
profile, L49.3.1_profile_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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Carved stone pipe representing an eagle perched crosswise on a thin, curving platform. The bowl of the pipe is on the bird's back, and the stem is part of the platform. Wing and tail feathers are rendered in realistic detail but the rest of the body, feet and head are worked with minimal embellishment. Eye sockets are inset with lead. Such platform pipes are typical of the Hopewell culture, but this eagle is unique for the addition of the lead eyes and its very fine workmanship. There are a few equidistance tool marks cross- wise which make it unusual as well.
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