While your personal mileage may vary, to my eye the Volcanoes that Tsuge Ikebana has been producing for the past eighteen months or so have taken the shape to new and incredible heights. Here we find another rockingly impressive pipe from the very house that launched the Japanese high grade revolution (rocking in both a literal as well as a figurative sense; the shape is transcendent, and the form of the heel/bottom of the shank allows this masterpiece to rock with the patience of one of those Daruma dolls that everyone seems to bring back from Japan).
While many “Flowers of the Pipe World” show hints of the Shinto aesthetic, this transfixing Volcano moves further into that realm, incorporating the balancing principles of Onmyōdō (the way of yin & yang) in a marvelous manner. Far more than the obvious delineation between the dark (yin/in) of the sandblast and the bengal (yo/yang) of the smooth stain, the curve, regularity and settling position which is part of yin is reflected in the shape and symmetry of the heel and bottom of the shank. Yang rises – pushes against restraint – and presents in the subtle organicism of the smooth. That said, the traditional combining characters which form in-yo represent the light and dark side of a mountain – but the same mountain. That same unity is found here, and the totality presents a harmony in the hand which rivals that enjoyed by the eye.
R. ‘Bear’ Graves