Up until a decade and a half ago, the aesthetic of pipes such as the one before you were strictly the domain of Japanese carvers, and great Japanese carvers at that. Then makers from the West tried their hand and, in my opinion, the results ranged from an interesting Western take on the milieu to pretty darn close. To my mind the disconnect between the work of (say) Smio Satou and the better of the Western attempts didn't lie in the parts per se (great bowl, fine bamboo, etc.), but in the spirit of the totality. A palpable anima of the soft and harmonious and an appreciation of the natural is tough enough to create when you have been raised in a culture that celebrates the same, but when you have been reared in a society wherein symmetry = beauty and the 'golden mean' hold sway, the task can seem downright impossible. I can only think of three Western carvers who can consistently nail this elusive aesthetic, and I count Adam Davidson amongst them.
This fascinating Davidson bent Dublin, from the fore of the craggy rim to the end of the immaculate button, and all six-plus inches in between, exudes a quiet harmony ('wa', if you will) that is the foundation of the Nihon zen/organic aesthetic. As in nature, the shape reveals no sense of being forced and the inherent grace seems a logical progression of growth. As always, Adam's bamboo work is world class, and the mottling that appears on the black bamboo further reinforces a sense of the organic. This one is a total keeper.
R. 'Bear' Graves