Base of a Water Pipe (Hookah)

Object Name: 
Base of a Water Pipe (Hookah)

Notice of Upcoming Content and Access Change

The Museum is working on the future of our online collections access. A new version will be available later in 2023. During this transition period, the current version of the Collections Browser may have reduced functionality and data may be not be updated. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For any questions or concerns, please contact us.

What is AAT?

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (r) is a structured vocabulary for generic concepts related to art and architecture. It was developed by The Getty Research Institute to help research institutions become consistent in the terminology they use.Learn More

Object Name: 
Base of a Water Pipe (Hookah)
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 17.5 cm; Rim Diam: 5.1 cm; Body Diam: 16 cm
Not on Display
Web Description: 
Tobacco smoking appears to have arrived in India during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar (1556-1605). The hookah was a water pipe in which tobacco smoke was sucked through scented water to cool it and to eliminate its harsh quality. With the establishment of the East India Company, English exports of glass to the Indian subcontinent increased dramatically. These exported wares included hookah bases made of high-quality glass that probably contained lead. The hookah base shown here is thought to have been wheel-engraved in India, perhaps in Delhi, because it matches, both in style and in technique, the engraving on jade and rock crystal made for the Mughal court.
Boney, Alice, Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless, lead glass; blown, cut and ground. Spherical-shape; flaring neck with one flanged knop; upper neck with cut design of floral sprays; flange with hollowed lobes; shoulder with running vine pattern flanked by rows of circular hollows ending below in an inverted row of flower and leaf units; body with isolated large grain or floral sprays and below a row of flowers and leaf motifs above a border of circular hollows; body rounds in to a slightly concave base; pontil area cut with four-petaled motif; bubbles, large to minute, in the glass, and several dark stones; several swirls can be felt exteriorly on the base.