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The waterpipe or arghili is a popular communal smoking device in Middle Eastern communities and among immigrant populations outside the Middle East. Hot tobacco smoke is cooled as it is drawn up from a bed of charcoal through a reservoir of water to the smoker with a removable pipe stem in his or her mouth. Waterpipes are popular in street cafes and other community gathering places, and in many homes.
This Turkish waterpipe of the early 20th century has a milk-glass reservoir depicting Mehmet VI, the last Ottoman sultan. Mehmet fled Istanbul into exile in 1922, marking the end of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. A Turkish immigrant later carried this waterpipe with him to Indianapolis, Indiana as a relic of leisure hours spent in the homeland.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
place made
Physical Description
clay (overall material)
glass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
metal, "brass" (overall material)
paint (overall material)
overall: 23 in x 8 in; 58.42 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Thomas Naff for the Faris and Yamna Naff Family Arab-American Collection
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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