Tsuge Ikebana: Smooth Freehand (Fukuda) (L) (041) (20) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-623-4675

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.

In recent memory, many of the Freehands we've seen from Fukuda have been Volcano-like pieces that maintain a fairly traditional shape overall, making this pipe stand out immediately. Reminiscent of the bent Egg, this profile showcases a key alteration of form via the Pitcher-like flare possessing the bowl at the rim, an addition which still maintains the smooth lines of the overall silhouette, though places even further emphasis on the bowl's presence. The bowl itself is rich with curvature throughout, flaring as it pushes out of the wide transition to form a mid-set waist that bulges out at the aft end, reinforcing the supple, arcing lines of the walls. Near the top of the bowl, these walls begin to taper swiftly and pinch before flaring out dramatically into the rim, its outline rising slightly at the aft while being granted a more pronounced lift at the fore. Said fore area is additionally denoted with a wrapping ridgeline that manifests near the flanks, creating a very subtle separation between the two through shaping alone. Compared to the bowl, the rim here is slightly tilted, like it was turned on the axis of the bowl so that the fore favors the right: This added detail underlines the presence of the bowl and highlights Fukuda's firm grasp on composition.

A wide transition marks the start of a trim, lifting shank that tapers slightly before meeting a flaring fitment of horn, the end of the organic extension surrounded by a single ridgeline before rounding into a domed face. This face accepts the stem via a brass-reinforced push-mount for added durability and easy break-down. A smartly bent saddle stem finishes the outline's S-curve and offers a comfortable smoking posture, its jet-black vulcanite a welcome contrast against the horn extension and the warm auburn stain of the stummel. Said stain reveals a stunning array of grain throughout the briar, with flame grain flowing though the flanks and becoming cross grain as it rises up and over the bowl, the underside here covered completely with dense swirls of birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.27 in./159.26 mm.
  • Weight: 2.70 oz./76.54 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.22 in./56.39 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.56 in./39.62 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.82 in./46.23 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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