Tsuge Ikebana: Sandblasted Freehand (Fukuda) (G) (046) (2020) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-623-2561

Known as the "flowers of the pipe world," Tsuge's Ikebana line represents the pinnacle of of the Japanese marque's offerings, each pipe made entirely by hand in the Ikebana workshop. Said workshop is headed by master artisan Kazuhiro Fukuda, a man who had the distinct honor of studying under Sixten Ivarsson, the father of the artisan pipe-making movement. Fukuda has been at the helm of the Ikebana workshop for over four decades, and, in his time, has become a master of the craft, creating works of his own while overseeing the two other artisans that work alongside him and passing down the knowledge that time and practice have lent him. This Freehand piece is among his more stylistically evocative works, and looks to be a sibling, or at least a cousin, of a pipe we received from him previously.

When I say "stylistically evocative," I mean to draw similarities between this piece and the Volcano shape, as both are wrapped with a continuous ridgeline along the base and have bowls that rise, tapering and forward urging, out of the base. However, the degree of squatness present here and the underside's pronounced dip downward serve to set it apart from the aforementioned profile, both being rather uncommon in most Volcano renditions. What I find most alluring about this piece, though, is the shank and stem combination, as the shank itself takes on a sharp, sweeping upturn to meet the stem. This stem is an extremely trim, startlingly curved (for its size) length of jet-black vulcanite that features an offset half-saddle orientation which sees the base continuing the ridgeline that wraps around the stummel. Not only does this balance the visual weight of this pipe quite well, but its gracile acrobatic stance offers a comfortable smoking posture while giving the impression of movement and imbuing the entire composition with a wonderful sense of momentum.

There's a wealth of subtle shaping detail present in this piece, though this should come as no surprise given Fukuda's breadth and depth of experience. A deep, inky sandblast dresses the stummel of this pipe, revealing a vast basin of textural birdseye across the expansive underside, while the flanks of the briar see rippling growth rings cascading down from the rim. Said rim is finished in a smooth mahogany stain, the lighter hues contrasting vibrantly with the surrounding burl and showcasing some pinpricks of birdseye as well, while an extremely slim band of the same color ties things together at the shank end.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.83 in./122.68 mm.
  • Weight: 2.72 oz./77.11 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.80 in./45.72 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.30 in./33.02 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.98 in./50.29 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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