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Pipe Dreams: The Art of the Hookah

Link - article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

"Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs" -- William Shakespeare

A hookah, or water pipe, is typically made of glass. Water is used to cool tobacco smoke before inhalation. The hookah originated in India and Iran in the sixteenth century, where it was seen as a good way to purify the smoke before it entered a person’s body.

(very colorful Asian-style hookah, photos via)

The hookah soon spread into Pakistan and the Middle East. It has since become popular in other parts of the world and hookahs can be found in North and South America, Europe, Australia and parts of Africa.

(top image credit: Ailantus, bottom right photo, taken in 1905, is by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, via)

Today, hookahs are created in a wide variety of designs. Meduse Design makes some exceptional modern shapes:

(top left: designer hookah "Shapes", via; top right image: Meduse Design)

This six-hose hookah (right image below) seems to be designed for sharing with close friends:

(images via)

At a height of seven feet, this is apparently one of the largest hookah pipes in the world, handcrafted in Egypt (left image below). Also from Egypt, the hookah on the right resembles a flowerpot:

(images via)

How about this one, mimicking the Eiffel Tower? (left) This one features cobras around the base (right):

(images via)

The water pipe has become popular around the world and is being used more often in its traditional places of origin in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. In the Western world, where restrictions on tobacco use continue to be introduced, lounges and cafes that allow hookah smoking have appeared. Despite the different chemical composition of the smoke that’s inhaled, hookah smoking is not a safe alternative to cigarettes and can still lead to tobacco related medical conditions.

(image via)

This handcrafted hookah is decorated with traditional Turkish designs (left). This dog’s head design on the right is certainly very unique:

(image credit: 1, 2)

Need ideas for Christmas gifts? You could always go with this Santa Claus hookah:

(image credit: 1, 2)

Here’s a nice blue Persian hookah (left image). Right image: Perhaps the skull emblem on this one serves as a health warning? -

(image credit: Mark Teasdale, Yael Flores (Chayel Photography - 2010))

These two might be even more discouraging for the hookah user:

(images credit: Tim Miller, Hookahmake)

The name hookah is thought to derive from the Indian word huqqa. British people first became aware of the water pipe when they spent time in India during the days of the Empire and most likely translated the local word into an English version:

(image credit: Sahara Smoke Company)

A Fleur-de-Lys design that might prove popular in France (left image). On the right is a very decorative and colourful example, art creation by Tatiana from Russia:

(images credit: Aladin Shisha, Tatiana)

The one on the right could double as a lamp, by the looks of things:

(images credit: Igor Mitin)

The most common water pipe design originates in the Middle East. The smoker inhales through a hose, which draws the smoke down from the bowl into the water. The smoke goes to the upper part of the jar after bubbling through the water, hence the alternative name hubble bubble. The smoke then enters the hose through which it’s inhaled:

(Hookah parts image credit: SimplyHookahShisha)

Here is an interesting "kalyan", or Qalyan version, seen in museum in Saratov, Russia:

(image credit: Haratokina)

And this cat obviously wants to try new things:

(image via)




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Anonymous Inspirational Sayings About Life said...

I think I like the more classic hookahs compared to the more modern ones that are pictured above. It's still neat to see what types of designs people are coming up with these days though!

Anonymous Hookah guide said...

I really enjoyed this article as a hookah entusiast myself


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