White pipe clay

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White pipe clay (Dutch: pijpaarde) is a white-firing clay of the sort that is used to fashion smoking pipes. The clay was found in deposits of the Rhine and Meuse rivers and in the 16th-century centers of production for white pipe clay objects were Cologne, Utrecht, Liège and Gouda, South Holland. The name comes from the most common usage of white pipe clay, the Gouda smoking pipe or Goudse pijp.

Devotional figures[edit]

Small St. Francis figurine with mold, from the Oude Varkenmarkt dig in Leiden, ca. 1475-1499, Museum Catharijneconvent

In archaeological digs in the Netherlands, small white devotional figurines have been found, but more importantly, several recent digs in cities have uncovered the molds used to press these small figurines.[1] Forty figurines and twenty-eight parts of figurines were discovered on the Oude Varkenmarkt in Leiden in a cesspit dating to the middle of the 15th century.[2]

Goudse pijp[edit]

The Gouda pipe was a long-stemmed white tobacco pipe made in Gouda in the same way as the old figurines in a pressed mold. They became popular with the import of tobacco through the Dutch East India Company and later the Dutch West India Company. The pipes can be seen in a number of 17th-century paintings and are regularly found in archaeological digs in the Netherlands. They were continuously produced up to the 20th century.

In the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Gouda was still known for its churchwarden pipes and even mentioned a winter pastime of skating while smoking from Rotterdam to Gouda without breaking such pipes.[3]


  1. ^ Pijpaarden Beeldjes, in "Devotionalia", by W. H. Th. Knippenberg, 1985, OCLC 500141733
  2. ^ Pijpaarden mallen on Rijksmuseum van Oudheden website
  3. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gouda". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.