Zulu Pipe Shape Name

  • Thabo Pienaar

I'm curios of the origins of the two pipe shapes which has South African names; the "Oom Paul" and the Zulu pipe shape name. I have already written a post on the "Oom Paul" shape and a YouTube video, so now I'm tackling the origins of the Zulu pipe shape (video here).

However, finding the origins are not easy and it seems as if pipe shape names can be a little bit ubiquitous at times, as "Neil" indicated in this post. Also, while reading up I found that many people interchangeably refer to the "Zulu" pipe shape as a horn or yachtsman zulu but it must be said that the "Zulu" pipe shape does have very particular characteristics. The shape does resembles something of a Dublin but a true Zulu pipe shape has a more forward leaning bowl. The gentle forward bend makes it a very easy clencher and has a nice feel in your hand. But what interested me is the origin of the name. I could not establish a true scientific origin for the Zulu but, after seeing an old tribal Zulu pipe, I could immediately see the resemblance. The original tribal Zulu pipe was made from a horn with a hole bored in where the mouthpiece was inserted.18158 18up Dinka 50M xlarge

From this picture, it is clear why it is sometimes referred to as the "horn" shape. It must be said however, that a true horn nowadays does look quite different from the Zulu. The Zulu pipe shape probably evolved from this "horn" tribal pipe into what we today know as the "Zulu" pipe shape. Pipe smoking in early South African tribes were very common. Here is a Xhosa woman lighting a typical Xhosa pipe used in the early days. lady smoking pipe xhosaAlthough it is known that Jan Van Riebeeck who settled in the Cape in 1652 traded pipes with the locals, archaeological evidence suggests that the native people of Southern Africa smoked pipe before the arrival of Jan Van Riebeeck. It is said that the main "tobacco" which was smoked then, was "dagga" (cannabis) and was only later replaced by tobacco. Many African countries today produces excellent tobacco due to the favourable climate and soil. Many well-known pipe makers all have some sort of a Zulu in their range. Although it is not a well-known shape, it is a very enjoyable shape - small bowl for a quick smoke and very easy on the jaw. As a South African, I find it quite interesting to have two pipe shape names closely linked to South African history, and of course, I do own an "Oom Paul" and a Zulu shape.   http://youtu.be/C3fIEL3yVlc I've made a video of this blog. Please subscribe if you like!

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  Other References:

  1. http://www.tobaccopipes.com/tobacco-pipe-zulu-shape/
  2. http://africancraftsmarket.com/Horn-Zulu-smoking-pipe_details.htm

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