Sabina Santos: Smooth Natural Tadpole with Ebony and Antique Whale Tooth (G)

Product Number: 002-817-0014

Continuing to grow and expound upon her previous work, Sabina Santos presents here another rendition of the Tadpole design. Originally, it's a shape from Joao Reis, and Santos has already fashioned several iterations of the form, having studied under Reis.

This might just be the Portuguese carver's most impressive iteration too, which is saying something as the shape inherently requires a high degree of artisan skill. In past offerings, the characteristic tail that entwines the shank has only featured, at most, two coils. Here, though, the ebony wood shank is wrapped three times by the tight, concentric, and incredibly trim tail, requiring a deft and delicate touch from Santos. In silhouette, the bowl is fairly standard, exhibiting a forward canted, Egg-like profile; however, Sabina has also gone a step further here, paneling the left flank and trailing a single teardrop line down the right. It provides a sublime texture in hand, contrasting the stummel's smooth finish, and the accenting panel and ridgeline are aligned perfectly with the briar's grain: Cross grain sweeps down the flanks to leave a wealth of birdseye at the fore.

Lastly, the shank-end is topped with a ferrule of old whale tooth from the Azores islands of Portugal. During the 18th and 19th centuries, whale hunting was an important aspect of the Azores' economy before it was outlawed several decades ago. Even still, though, whales remain a strong part of the Azores' identity, with tourists traveling to the islands to witness the majestic animals. Sabina had an old piece of whale tooth from the practice's heyday and pays homage to the history of Portugal, her home, in this immaculate piece.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.16 in./156.46 mm.
  • Weight: 1.86 oz./52.62 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.17 in./55.12 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.10 in./27.94 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.74 in./18.80 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.68 in./42.67 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Portugal
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