Friday, May 21, 2010

Folk Art Carved Presentation Pipe Presented to General Ulysses S. Grant

Available at Cowan's.

Here's the auction house description:

A massive hand-carved folk art pipe presented to Grant during his Presidency (1869-1877). Overall length 18", and constructed in two parts, consisting of a huge 3.5" diameter and 5" in height briar bowl with attached walnut stem decorated with cross hatching. Two brass fittings further decorate the stem, which bears an old museum accession number. An engraved silver plaque is mounted on the stem of the bowl with To Genl. U.S. Grant / President / Peace. The front of the bowl is hand-carved in a face with beard flowing to the base, possibly intended to represent Grant himself. Applied to one side is a copper cut-out of an eagle with arrows in its talons. On the other side is a cut-out of a cannon on caisson with U.S. flag flying above. The top of the bowl is fitted with brass lid.

Although not a traditional "peace pipe," the form is European, some think it may relate to Grant's Indian policy. Even before taking office, he agreed to turn over the administration of the reservations to religious authorities, taking it out of the hands of the military. Grant's new policy has been dubbed "conquest by kindness," sometimes referred to as the "Quaker Policy" for the group that proposed it to him. Grant was tired of war and said so in his epitaph, "Let us have peace." By the 1880s the reservations were effectively prisons, the people cut off from their traditional lands and resources, certainly "conquered," not necessarily by "kindness."


John Foster said...

You always amaze me with the quality of your findings. Seriously, I have HUGE respect for your eye Joey. I sometimes feel we are brothers—one mind, two bodies. You are yhe man, in my eyes.

Joey said...

Thanks John! That means a lot coming from you. You have one of the best eyes around and your blog is amazing! I never miss a post.

I wanted to create an online archive of these wonderful, mysterious objects that are, unfortunately, in the public eye for such a short while before going back into private collections, sometimes never to be seen again. That's a shame, isn't it?

I'm glad I've found so many like-minded people that feel exactly the same way!