PIPE SMOKING. The original source of the idea of smoking must be sought in the sense of smell. This was much keener in primitive man than in man of the more advanced stages.
With the pleasure derived from aroma, there was probably a sense of mystery at the sight of the smoke rising up into the air. Thus there was an element of religious ceremony in the burning of pleasant-smelling substances among primitive folk, in whatever part of the world we may be able to study their ways.
The ritual element is enhanced by another circumstance. Herod otus, in the fifth century B.C., describes a practice of the Scyth ians, a Mongol people settled in south-eastern Europe, between the Carpathian mountains and the River Don. Throwing the leaves of a certain plant (which was probably hemp) upon a fire, they sit round and, inhaling the smoke, "they grow drunk with the fumes as the Greeks do with wine," until they jump up and begin to dance and sing. Herodotus seemed to regard this simply as an orgy; but inhalation was certainly used to produce a super-normal condition of mind in many parts of the world. When Columbus discovered America, he found the habit estab lished of inhaling tobacco, to induce a state of trance, during which visions were seen, which were accepted as divine revela tions. The intoxicating vapour at Delphi which inspired the Pyth ian priestess may have been artificially produced, since no natural source has been found.
The invention of an implement to concentrate the smoke was an advance. Such an implement is the Y-shaped tube described by G. Fernandez de Oviedo in his History of the Indies (1535), The two horns of the "Y" were inserted in the nostrils, and smoke from tobacco burning in a censer was drawn up through the tube. This was the ceremonial method of smoking prevalent in the Antilles when Columbus and his followers reached them, side by side with a common use of the tobacco-leaf rolled up and smoked like a cigar. Bernal Diaz, who accompanied Cortez to Mexico, describes the inhalation of tobacco through a tube. But we have much earlier evidence from Mexico. At the ruined city of Palenque, in the southern province of Chiapas, there are the remains of a "Temple of the Cross," which seems to belong to the beginning of the second century A.D. Here, on one of two
stone slabs on either side of a doorway, is represented a figure of a priest, clad in a jaguar-skin cloak and a head-dress representing a mythical bird, who is blowing out a smoke-offering through a straight tube. This Palenque sculpture is the work of the Mayas, the mysterious race which preceded the Toltecs and the Aztecs in Mexico. Other Maya sculptures portray the straight smoking tube, both as an emblem in one of the hands of Chac, the god alike of rain-and-thunder and of fertility, and as an apparently ordinary implement for smoking. Lionel Wafer, at the end of the 17th century, speaks of a roll of tobacco, 2ft. or 3ft. long and as thick as a man's wrist, being lighted by a boy, and the smoke being puffed into the faces of a company who made funnels of their hands and inhaled it.
Whatever the original use of the straight tube (which is found in a variety of materials—bone, wood, cane, stone of kinds not too hard to work, and pottery), the use of it as a pipe for tobacco ages before America was discovered by the early European ad venturers is well established. The first modification of the type is that found in the burial-mounds of the Muskogee Indians, in the south-eastern portion of what is now the United States. The tube is bent up at one end, with a widening of the "bowl" formed by this end. Pipes on these lines were obviously the model for the clay pipe as known to Europe, which is only natural, since the first Europeans to introduce the use of the tobacco-pipe into their own countries learned the habit of smoking not from the West Indies, but from the Indians of the eastern mainland.
The next modification of the tube, which is found in Ohio and Virginia in the burial-mounds of another Indian tribe, the Algon quins, converts it from a one-piece to a two-piece pipe. What ever the material used, usually some kind of stone, the stem was liable to be broken, necessitating a makeshift stem, if the bowl was to continue in use. From this the transition is easy to a bowl alone, into which a wooden stem could be inserted.