Carved Treen Civil War Folk Art Pipe with Soldier and Mermaid--Possibly Pennsylvania "Bucktails"

America, ca. 1860-1880. A RARE form. Most pipes of this period are carved with the name, unit, battlefield campaigns and other details. This finely carved pipe features a large soldier's head and a recumbent mermaid along the stem. The open carving between the fin and the stem is particularly nice. It is interesting how the loss of the old varnish around the mermaid's face makes her look as if she is wearing an eye mask. The imagery strongly suggests that the soldier was involved in maritime activity during the war (or perhaps whaling). Although current representations of the mermaid is associated with the Disney character, in the period of this pipe mermaids were often linked with peril as much as pleasure. 

NEW NPUT FROM A FINE COLLECTOR (THANK YOU "Just an observation regarding the carved soldier pipe. I've collected Civil War memorabilia for over 50 years and specialize mostly in Gettysburg related items. The pipe is beautifully carved and while the mermaid might suggest a sailor association there is another possibility related to the carving on the front and side of the soldier's hat. The 13th, 149th and 150th regiments of PA. volunteers made up a unit nicknamed the "Bucktails". They were primarily recruited from farmers, trappers, back woodsmen, etc. and distinctly wore a deer tail on their kepis which gave them the nick name " Pennsylvania Bucktails". The carving on your pipe strongly resembles a bucktail which numerous period photographs will show were mounted beginning on the front center and wrapping around the side of the kepi". 

About 12 inches overall length. Terrific condition and patina. Comes with a small flexible iron stand.