John He: Sandblasted Long Shank Fugu (19/23)

Product Number: 002-818-0012

Originally a portrait and fashion photographer, John He first discovered artisan pipemaking through pictures of Hiroyuki Tokutomi's pipes. Though unfamiliar at first with pipe design, He's understanding of aesthetics and style through photography easily appreciated the work of Tokutomi, and John developed a love for the artistry of pipemaking, eventually contacting the Japanese master and learning the craft of carving pipes from him. It's only natural, then, that He's personal style generously incorporates elements of Japanese pipemaking, the Chinese carver's work dominated by organic design cues, most often in the form of asymmetry.

The Fugu, or Blowfish, shape is an inherently asymmetrical design, and it lends itself to diverse interpretation across pipemakers' differing creative lenses. Most often, the form prioritizes a certain cross grain orientation, the different birdseye and straight grain patterns further demarcated by intricate ridgelines and facets. In John's signature renditions, though, he opts for something considerably more rounded and subtle — hewing closer to the shape's namesake fish than many other versions. Instead of using panels and hard lines, He here more suggests such elements: The bowl's fore is slightly protruding and firmer than the flanks, and the whole orientation is tilted for asymmetrical appeal, as the right flank drops lower than the left. The bulbous bowl inflates from out of an elongated, pinched shank, lending said bowl a perched and poised disposition that suits the piece's strong organicism. Dressed in a subtle sandblast with hints of contrast in the stain, the only accents here are a smooth-polished rim and shank face, and a reinforcing brass ring around the mortise, ensuring that the focus of this pipe remains on the lines of the form itself.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.08 in./129.03 mm.
  • Weight: 1.50 oz./42.64 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.64 in./41.66 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.28 in./32.51 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.90 in./48.26 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: China
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