Though in this piece Tokutomi really plays up the balanced asymmetry he is known for in a grand, powerfully sweeping manner, the master artisan still manages to keep the shaping plenty natural when held, whether palmed or gripped, and in either the left or the right hand. But then, along with his whole balanced asymmetry thing, Tokutomi is also known for being quite adamant that a pipe should be practical and functional smoking instrument as well as artistic, after all. And of course, even while shaping the briar in such a dramatic (and it must be said, quite sturdy and powerful-looking) style, he still manages to maintain excellent control over how both the flame grain and birdseye are displayed.
It should also be noted that this pipe bears the "BN" stamping, indicating that it was fashioned from select briar willed to Hiroyuki Tokutomi by the late Danish master artisan Bo Nordh.
- Eric N. Squires