These molded ceramic pipe bowls come from Myanmar (formerly Burma) in Southeast Asia. They date to the 13th century AD, when the city of Bagan in central Myanmar was a massive urban center and the capital of a large state. Tobacco, a New World crop, wasn’t grown in Asia until the 16th century. These pipes may have been used for smoking opium, an important medicinal plant in Asia from prehistoric times. They are part of the Museum’s Bekker Collection. Sarah Bekker, a specialist in Southeast Asian ceramics who resided in Myanmar and Thailand from 1946 through 1971, donated her collection to the Museum in 2007.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.