While I have become much better about balancing my pipe acquisition disorder against the financial realities of workaday life (one can
actually be current with one’s electric bill – who knew?), immediately upon seeing this dauntingly fascinating Ikebana, I handed my wallet to Eric (an ounce of prevention, what?). Every Ikebana Elephant’s foot we have ever carried, save one, has incorporated aspects of the shield, and this Kikuchi D Grade pachyderm’s paw not only follows that tradition, it takes the shape execution to the point that it has entered (solidly) into hybrid territory.
The exterior bowl dimensions of 1.76” tall by 1.81” wide speak of ‘Shield’, as does the rounded front of the bowl, complete with a beautiful bulge featuring a nova-like burst of birdseye. As with any properly made Elephant’s Foot, cross-grain features a starring role, and just look at the quality of the same revealed by Asami’s delicate blasting. To my tastes, the apex of beauty is best appreciated in direct profile, wherein the nuances of the bowl shape and insanely graceful interaction with the shank can best be observed. Here Asami Kikuchi imbues the form with the very essence of Ikebana; “The Flowers of the Pipe World”. We can see it in the vase like profile of the bowl, as well as in the poignantly graceful arc of the shank and stem. Indeed, the latter is a perfect representation of a slender leaf, buoyed by the perfect ‘trigger pressure’ found on a well-tended plant. Awesome stuff!