This curious design is based off of the likewise unusual (apparently clay-bowled, reed-stemmed) pipe seen being smoked by a Zouave in one of van Gogh's portraits. If you're scratching your head and having a hard time remembering there being a pipe in his famous painting of a Zouave, don't worry; there isn't one. There was one, however, in the lesser-known sketch
of the same subject.
- Eric N. Squires