Tsuge Ikebana: Smooth Tomato (Kikuchi) (G) (030) (2021)

Product Number: 002-623-2557

Ikebana translates literally to "living flower" and Tsuge's top three artisan pipe makers take the name seriously. Only those three select individuals craft the pipes that come from the Japanese marque's Ikebana workshop, supervised by master carver Kazuhiro Fukuda, an artisan who traveled to Denmark to learn from none other than Sixten Ivarsson himself. This fine rendition was crafted by Asami Kikuchi a talented sculptural artist who underwent a traditional apprenticeship under Fukuda before joining the Ikebana workshop 2013.

While some of her pipes are a mixture of smooth curves and precise ridgelines, this Tomato is an exquisite compilation of curvature, directing my eye around like liquid and not allowing me to catch on any distracting interruption. The bowl is plump and squat, as the traditional shape demands, but with a little more weight imbued in the upper margins than the lower, giving it a vertical energy and implied sense of motion. The transition makes "seamless" seem like too rough an adjective to use, so I'll just say "perfect" and stick to my guns. The shank tapers to join the stem's base, the latter gently and subtly flaring to a shoulder to aid assembly before mirroring the transition as it reduces to a svelte, handcrafted fishtail. It's hard to imagine a pipe more streamlined and supple in hand, and I find myself not wanting to waste time in the attempt; this piece demands my full attention, the bengaline contrast stain and smooth finish, like a lover, drawing my gaze in and not letting go.

- Joel Balyeat
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.70 in./144.78 mm.
  • Weight: 1.84 oz./52.16 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.57 in./39.88 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.23 in./31.24 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in./20.57 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.89 in./48.01 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Tomato
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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