Japanese Estates: Hiroyuki Tokutomi Smooth Blowfish (One Snail) (2008)

Product Number: 004-007-0526

Shapes synonymous with Tokutomi range from the Fish, the Vase, the Manta, the Cavalier, and the Disk; however, in the vast repertoire of the master's forms, there are none more so enthusiastically associated with an artisan than the beloved Blowfish. Though probably first conceived by Lars Ivarsson, and developed, at least in part, with Jess Chonowitsch, the fact remains that any of the more memorable, albeit remarkable, Blowfish shapes to come out of any of the more notable pipemakers' studios have been produced by Tokutomi.

In terms of practical structure, the bisecting line running the length of the shape, from the end of the shank, up and over the bowl, creates, surprisingly, a quite natural feel in hand: the thumb tucked comfortably beneath the curling wave/fin, top fingers grasping the large, panel on the left flank (that is if you prefer the left hand), or the thumb resting along the panel, the pipe sinking deep in the palm, with the pointer and middle now uplifting the bowl, affixed to the smaller panel of the right-flank (if you prefer holding it in the right). Unsurprising given the shape, this division also allows the left side to sport a rather impressive canvas of birdseye, just one of the many visual 'tricks' that Tokutomi seems to be playing here.

Aesthetically, it flies in the face of the Ivarsson school, Tokutomi working to balance extreme asymmetry with a complex abundance of lines, panels, and a singular fin: features that rush across the compact shape, adding a sense of fluid momentum where needed, and subtracting superfluous weight where necessary. The result is something iconically statuesque, but small enough to be a miniature token to be taken out of pocket, admired, and contemplated upon; a shape representational enough to be pegged as an aquatic life form, but abstracted enough to be amorphous, melting into liquidity.

-Seth Ellison-

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Measurements & Other Details

H. TOKUTOMI {arched}
JAPAN {arched}
{snail stamp}

Condition: 4.8/5 Rim darkening.
  • Length: 4.26 in./108.20 mm.
  • Weight: 1.90 oz./53.86 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.92 in./48.77 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.30 in./33.02 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.62 in./15.75 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.56 in./39.62 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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