Contact Period: Area of Inuence

These 17th-century baked clay pipes were made by passing Frenchmen in Lachine. They are modeled on pipes with removable stems of First Nations design, which were favoured by fur trap- pers because they were sturdy and easy to carry.

Though intended for smoking tobacco, the pipe bowls may have played a communication role as well. It is possible that their forms, decorations and inscriptions served to identify their owners to members of the various native tribes. If so, pipes would have been passports of sorts, facilitating circulation through the network of fur trading posts by signifying established friendships and alliances.

First Nations pipes could be one-piece or two- piece. In the 17th century, Upper Country natives preferred those with removable stems. They made them from clay and, occasionally, from stone. The stone models were generally used as peace pipes and were sturdier and more elabo- rately decorated. They became common only in the 18th century.

Pipes with removable stems

Pipes with removable stems were highly valued as trade goods. Users sucked the smoke through a reed fixed to the bowl. Prior to the 18th century, pipe bowls were usually made of baked clay and frequently decorated. The bowl and the reed were joined by a tie (string, leather thong) threaded through a hole bored in the keel-like base.

1 & 2 Pipe bowls (2)

Limestone, 17th century.

1. Two fragments decorated with rows of vermilion-coated indentations.

Vermilion pigment was highly prized in the fur trade. Before the arrival of the Europeans, Natives painted their faces with a paste composed mainly of fine reddish ochre. They eagerly adopted the luminous scarlet-red vermilion when it came on the market. Vermilion, sold in powder form, was imported principally from China. AR-2000-139

2. Pyramidal base, slightly rounded, and base of neck. AR-2000-129

3 to 14 Pipe bowls (12)

Coarse baked clay, 17th century.

3. Scooped rim. Decorated with incised wheels and foliage. AR-2000-125

4. Slightly flared shape. AR-2000-133

5. Very small pipe. Scooped rim. Raised decoration indecipherable. AR-2000-136

6. Straight rim. Incised square of hatching. AR-2000-137

7. Notched rim. Base somewhat triangular. AR-2000-126

8. Base somewhat pointed. Elongated body with irregular scalloped faces in upper area. AR-2000-128

9. Scooped rim. Undecorated. AR-2000-132

10. Face of an angular bowl with scooped rim. Incised decoration within a circle. AR-2000-124

11. Pyramidal base, slightly rounded. AR-2000-130

12. Decorated with stylized foliage, perhaps a tobacco plant. Inscription: “TREILLE CONT GA.”

The name La Treille is inscribed on this and another pipe found in Lachine. Soldier Jean Marin dit La Treille was posted at the Lachine garrison in the 17th century. He died in Lachine in 1691, slain by the Iroquois while he and two other soldiers were guarding local peasants hoeing the wheat fields. Was he the maker of these pipes? Or were they made for him? Or did he make them for himself? AR-2000-122

13. Part of bowl and convex keel-like base. Decorated with an incised fleur-de-lys and a few words, including the letters “LATRE_LL” for La Treille (see No. 12). AR-2000-123

14. This pipe, whose delicate decoration was incised with a sharp point while the clay was still wet, has a caricature profile on one side (see enlargement). The similar crafting of this pipe and Nos. 12 and 13 suggests they were made by the same person. AR-2000-127