Tsuge Ikebana: Smooth Bent Egg (Fukuda) (M) (040) (2020) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-623-4709

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.

At just over 5 inches in length, every single bit of the space this pipe takes up is filled with incredible detail, making its rather compact footprint a striking element of its construction. The stem is a trim saddle that is curved elegantly, meeting an ovoid shank face whose form domes out just a bit to meet the expansion-ring-fitted base of the stem. A wide transition gives way to a gently lifted stretch of shank which flares out playfully toward the aforementioned domed face, broadening out toward the lower midsection of the shank face and altering the more standard style of oval usually seen in shanks. The underside of the pipe follows a sweeping undercurve that lifts the bowl upward and provides a leaping kind of look that exudes the appearance of a fish jumping out of the water.

The shape of the bowl is soft, curved almost to the point of being chubby and its shape appears to urge forward, with a slight bit of extra mass focused on the fore of the bowl. The rim is chamfered, leading to the capacious tobacco chamber, and is dipped at the middle to add even further visual intrigue to the composition. Both of these features combine to lend the bowl an overall shape that's quite unique, the fore wall and rim rising high to a softly arced peak as the aft wall pushes outward and tightens the transition. The profile of this pipe exudes an easy sinuousness and jocular charm, the softness of the curves here gently guiding the eye forward to a defined point at the rim and enabling full appreciation of this piece's minutia. The stummel is commended by a light mahogany stain, completely enshrouded by dense, fine striations of flame and straight grain, with growth rings peeking through their tendrils, while the underside and rim are awash with swathes of dense birdseye. A phenomenal offering from a legendary artisan, this bent Egg is the culmination of over 40 years of experience and training from the most formative, influential carver in the Danish school.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.20 in./132.08 mm.
  • Weight: 2.40 oz./68.04 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.04 in./51.82 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.47 in./37.34 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in./20.57 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.86 in./47.24 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Egg
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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