Tobacco Jar

This tobacco jar depicts a Native American smoking a pipe and seated next to a container marked “TONKA.” A South American bean, tonka smells like vanilla, almonds, cinnamon, and cloves and was commonly used in scented snuff.

As the ships depicted on the surface suggest, this jar highlights the connections among Europeans, colonists, and Native Americans who all used tobacco and played a role in its international trade. These people were also among the enslaved in the colonial period in the Americas. Native Americans were the first to grow and smoke tobacco, and their exoticized image became a longstanding tool for its marketing.



Tobacco jar
Probably Netherlands; 1750−1800
Earthenware (Delftware) with a tin glaze
Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1958.1528