John He: Smooth Fugu (19/7)

Product Number: 002-818-0009

With a long career as a professional photographer, John He's first introduction to artisan pipes was actually through photos — specifically pictures of Hiroyuki Tokutomi's work. John would go on to learn from the Japanese carver personally and embark on his own pipemaking career. Such mentorship has obviously inspired John's personal aesthetic, and his pipes often utilize supple, organic forms, playing with asymmetry and aligning with Danish and Japanese design cues.

This Fugu does well to represent the Chinese carver's portfolio, as He often pairs such bulbous, rounded bowls with elongated shanks. Traditionally, the Fugu (or Blowfish) shape is marked by defined panels at each flank, separated by a band of cross grain. Here, though, John renders a more subtle, amorphous version — the bowl's orientation is oblong and tilted to the left when viewed from above, the cross grain having informed He's shaping. Further defining the grain, the bowl's fore comes to a rounded edge, adding some firmness in hand while still remaining plump and soft-lined. Birdseye covers the flanks, dressed in a rich, auburn stain, and the mortise is reinforced by a brass inset, the stem attached mount-style. It's beautiful work from John, indicative of his personal style, with underlying roots that hint at Toku's influence, particularly in the asymmetric and organic shaping.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.64 in./143.26 mm.
  • Weight: 1.07 oz./30.35 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.48 in./37.59 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.09 in./27.69 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.78 in./19.81 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.72 in./43.69 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: China
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