Tsuge Ikebana: Partially Sandblasted Freehand (Fukuda) (H) (096) (2021) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-623-4656

Tsuge's Ikebana workshop is the artisan offshoot of the esteemed Japanese marque, comprising three renowned carvers that each present a unique shaping style and design outlook in every pipe they make. The pieces they create are often referred to as the "flowers of the pipe world," and this is a fitting appellation, as their namesake, "Ikebana," literally translates as "living flowers" and references the highest echelon of Japanese flower arrangement, with the goal of instilling a sense of silent appreciation for the natural world and all things within it. This particular Freehand piece was carved by the oldest and most experienced of the three, Kazuhiro Fukuda, who studied under the legendary Sixten Ivarsson, the father of artisan pipe carving.

Immediately I am reminded of the Horn shape when I look at this pipe, though it is so much more than that. There's a sense of sinuous flow throughout its build, from the button to the rim, that is only magnified by its rather acrobatic posture, with the sharply upturned shank poising the demurely curved stem in a stance that is almost swan-like. Said stem nestles into the wide, softly inflated shank face at a shallow hollow that keeps the entire composition looking consistent and cohesive. At the flanks of the shank we see a pair of wrapping ridgelines that sweep around the entire base of the piece, creating a continuous panel throughout the duo's travel that serves to both frame the rest of the pipe and add some firm structure to its lines. Beneath, we see a dipped curvature that favors the fore a touch more than the aft, with these same curves mirrored stylistically on top through the eruption of the bowl.

I really do mean eruption when I say it, as the manner in which it breaches the otherwise consistent surface of the top of the shank is highly reminiscent of the Volcano shape, especially when the framed base is taken into account. This bowl pushes forward as it pushes out and up, lending the composition some striking forward momentum and accentuating the underside's bulge through an implied line that allows one to infer the bowl's Egg-like shaping, as if it had been concealed beneath a covering of briar. A beautiful partial sandblast dresses the stummel here, with the paneled flanks and shank face left smooth and stained a vibrant mahogany, revealing some amazing flame grain which follows the curvature of the shape amazingly well. At the top and bottom the sandblast takes hold, unveiling textural striations of the same grain rising up through the bowl, following those on the flanks, while blasted birdseye is resplendent atop the shank and underneath it.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.01 in./127.25 mm.
  • Weight: 2.19 oz./62.14 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.70 in./43.18 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.26 in./32.00 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.62 in./41.15 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Partial Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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