This hookah or nargile was probably produced for the Turkish market. The custom of smoking tobacco, often flavoured, in a water-pipe is supposed to have originated in India. It then passed through Iran and became popular in Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean countries during the first years of the 17th century. It became so popular in Turkey that the Sultan Murat IV (1623-1640) banned smoking on fear of death. However, this only drove it underground and the law was repealed some years later.
In the 19th century the practice spread to polite society in mainland Europe and Britain in the 19th century together with the passion for all things Eastern as shown in the works of Orientalist artists. In its simplest form the hookah is made up of four components; the water-bowl (Gvde), the tobacco container (Lle), the tube (Marpu) and the mouthpiece (agizlik). This example is a more elaborated form with the figural stem.