University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Fun Friday Image of the Week – Woman Smoking a Water Pipe, Iran 1932


By: Amy Ellsworth

A woman water pipe smoker

A woman water pipe smoker “Kaliunchi” (‘nargilah’ in Arabic and Turkish) in a teahouse in Damghan, Semnan Province, Iran in 1932. Penn Museum Image #83371.

Iran was an important part of the Silk Road trading routes. One of the many food items traded along the silk road was pistachios, a main export of Damghan. At the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibit opening feb 5 at the Penn Museum, you can trace the etymology of the word pistachio from its beginnings to its current usage today in one of many fun and (might I say, edutaining) interactives.


  • I Really like these old Photos. I aquired a huge box of old photos taken in the 1950`s of people and there everyday lives in Iran. They are Black and whites and very charming.
    They came out of an estate in Bucks county.
    I love your Museum and I use to spend a lot of time down there with Peter and Jill Furst.
    I am tring to get back down there soon. Lynn

  • That’s unique I have never seen a woman smoking in a pipe LOL.

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