Tsuge Ikebana: Smooth Acorn with Horn (Fukuda) (N) (113) (2021) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-623-4657

Kazuhiro Fukuda is the leader of Japanese marque Tsuge's Ikebana workshop, a small outfit of three artisans that carve the company's most superlative pipes. Known as the "flowers of the pipe world," the Ikebana moniker literally translates to "living flowers" in English, a reference to the highest art of Japanese flower arrangement and almost certainly a reference to the quality of the work the trio does, as if they breathe life into the briar that they carve through their shaping. Fukuda was a student of both Sixten and Lars Ivarsson in the 1960s and went on to mentor a young Kei'ichi Gotoh in 1981. As such, Fukuda's shaping style is rather distinctly Danish, and nowhere is that more apparent than in his Acorn renditions.

There's a wonderful confluence of soft, supple curves and firm lines in this iteration of the shape, with the latter mainly present at the aft end of the pipe. If one considers the bit of the stem to be a firm line, something which makes sense here, given its sleek, almost sharp construction, then there are no less than three firm elements present out back: the shank end, stem base, and stem itself. At the shank, we see a rather short length of briar taper out from the transition, meeting an extension of horn that flares to the end, its apex marked by a wrapping ridgeline before arcing into the face, leaving a slightly domed surface. This shaping at the end is mirrored by the stem's base, seeing a similar domed shape that, too, starts at a crisp ridgeline informed by a flare as it travels out from the push-mount of the horn. Not only does this foster a sense of rigidity at the aft, but it draws some of the visual weight away from the bowl, making for a pipe that feels extremely well-balanced.

Said bowl is quite interestingly shaped, presenting immediately with the outline of a heart. We've seen this style of bowl before, but here it strikes me as being especially Sixten-like, with an inflated rim whose aft and fore arcs both are reminiscent of examples within his portfolio, only slightly exaggerated to lend the bowl the aforementioned heart shape. Even the shape of the rounded heel brings to mind the Danish master, despite this feature being widespread, as the outline of his rounded heels nearly matches that which Fukuda has carved here. Dressing the briar is a vibrant honey-blonde stain that unveils dense streaks of flame grain wrapping the bowl, while birdseye peppers the rim and rests at a basin on the heel, the color of the stain wonderfully complimenting that of the horn.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.84 in./148.34 mm.
  • Weight: 2.19 oz./62.14 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.98 in./50.29 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.42 in./36.07 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in./20.57 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.62 in./41.15 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Acorn/Pear
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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