Tsuge Ikebana: Smooth Billiard (Fukuda) (P) (076) (2021) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-623-4682

The Tsuge Ikabana workshop comprises three artisans — Kazuhiro Fukuda, Yoshirou Ohi, and Asami Kikuchi — each individually crafting handmade pipes under the Ikebana name. In Japanese, ikebana means "living flowers," and it refers to a specific type of artisanal flower arrangement in Japan. It's a fitting name for the Tsuge workshop, with the individual artisans contributing to a collective bouquet of sorts; each pipe is stamped with the last name of its carver, and those without a signature denote the work of the workshop's supervisor Kazuhiro Fukuda.

Among the group of Tsuge craftsmen who traveled to Denmark in the 1960s and '70s to learn artisan pipe making, Fukuda received tutelage from Sixten Ivarsson and Jørgen Larsen before returning to Japan and helping to establish the Ikebana workshop. His work represents some of the longest standing Japanese artisan pipes, and bespeaks the influence Danish pipe making has had on that of Japan, with Japanese carvers among the first to craft artisan pipes in the same vein as what the Danes had pioneered.

This particular smooth Billiard is a culmination of Fukuda's decades of experience, balancing perfect proportions, flawless craftsmanship, and handsome grain in a reserved and elegant form. It's one of those pipes that appears unassuming at first, yet when considering its handmade origins, becomes all the more impressive. These seemingly simple classic shapes are among the most difficult to fashion by hand; there's no room for error in line or proportion, and any misstep is easily noticed in context of the reserved composition.

Fukuda's mastery, though, is evident in this Billiard: The proportions between the stem height and shank length are balanced and in accordance with what's expected from the shape, and the tapering stem length acts as a harmonious complement to the slight taper of the shank. With a minimal upward taper and a flat rim, the bowl of this rendition lends the pipe a distinctively French and English style, rather than Danish. Most Danish Billiards are more tapered toward the rim, and said rim is often inflated slightly for added softness. This piece, however, reveals the poised stoicism so often associated with classic English renditions. Though fashioned in 2021, this Billiard could easily fit within a pipe catalog from the early 20th century. It's an homage, of sorts, to the vast history and aesthetic breadth of pipe making at large, only fashioned by hand with all the intentionality and engineering prowess of a veteran artisan.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.80 in./147.32 mm.
  • Weight: 1.20 oz./34.02 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.75 in./44.45 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.34 in./34.04 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.42 in./36.07 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Billiard
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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