Ray Kurusu: Smooth Erotique with Bamboo and Boxwood

Product Number: 002-637-0035

A shape that Japanese artisan Ray Kurusu has played with numerous times over the course of his pipe-making career, the Erotique is a design pioneered by Jørn Micke. Micke was a revered Danish artisan, and he became especially popular in Japan, with Hiroyuki Tokutomi particularly renowned for his reinterpretations of this Micke shape and Kurusu further expanding on those versions. Most characterized by a defining crease dividing the bowl's flanks, the Erotique often features asymmetrical shaping cues that align with the briar's natural grain patterns, and Micke's versions were often paired to sleek, elongated shanks. Kurusu's renditions have often catered to this slender, stretched style, but sometimes he opts for a more compact, muscular aesthetic, as reflected by this particular piece. It's not a pocket pipe, but the relative proportions are considerably more tight-knit and robust compared to others.

The design's defining crease bisects the bowl here in characteristic fashion, and it urges slightly leftward when viewed from above, emphasizing the right side more than the left. Such asymmetrical shaping perfectly frames the grain, with vertical grain adorning the flanks while birdseye populates the rim and heel — the former kissed with plateau for a touch of textured contrast. A stout section of bamboo echoes the rim's texture with craggy knuckles that lead into boxwood accent ring and a stem whose base is shaped to a bulbous form. The style of stem base was common on Micke's pipes and is often reflected in Kurusu's work, but here, the Japanese carver has dramatically accentuated this aspect, imbuing it with subtle asymmetry that beautifully balances and reflects the shaping of the bowl and incorporates the stem into the overall composition.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.68 in./144.27 mm.
  • Weight: 2.08 oz./58.97 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.47 in./37.34 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.01 in./25.65 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.73 in./18.54 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.83 in./46.48 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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