Calumet Pipe Bowl
ITEM: 628

This calumet pipe bowl would have been attached to a slender wooden stem that was sometimes very plain and simple, whilst others could be decorated with feathers, animal hair, quills, beads or carvings. The bowl itself is made of red pipestone, or catlinite. It is a fine-grained stone with a natural rich red colour that is easily shaped and comes from a small number of quarries along the American-Canadian border. The most famous is in south-western Minnesota, now the National Pipestone Monument. The red pipestone was so important to the religious culture of many regional tribes that the quarry was regarded as neutral ground during times of conflict.

Pipes were traditionally carved by men. Catlinite is said to be the blood of sacred buffaloes which seeped into the earth and hardened to stone as a gift to humans (Berlo & Phillips, p.32).