Tao: Smooth Bulldog with Antique Whale Tooth

Product Number: 002-748-0006

This is what I would call a classic Tao Bulldog shape: very stocky, and very sturdy. While some might point out that this style rather resembles its maker (I've no knowledge of his height, but I have described Tao as being, judging by photographs, the perfect fit for a role as the tougher, heavier-boned elder sibling of the Mr. Clean mascot), Tao evidently adopted this approach to pipemaking because he believes in pipes made to last. His pre-pipemaking life as a sailor I expect was quite an influence, there, as far as creating shapes that as a rule are of modest length, thick of shank, and very well-knit of transition.

On the subject of his life at sea having influenced Tao's designs in general, in this particular piece we find an unusual accent material indeed. That material is antique whale tooth, which Tao acquired on the Faroe Islands, where the harvesting of pilot whales has been central to community life (and generally, survival) for more than a millennium.

While the harvesting of whales is most often thought of in terms of the once widespread whaling industry, small-scale, localized whale hunts have been central to Faroese life since the North Atlantic islands were settled by the Norse, circa 800 A.D. With a climate and soil wholly unsuited to supporting life by farming crops, those who lived on the Faroe Islands learned to subsist upon pilot whale, sheep, seabirds, and fish. The rich meat and blubber of the pilot whale was (and still is) the most important, the annual catch to this day being divided communally then stored, prepared or preserved in Faorese households (in other words, you won't find it in a Faroe Islands supermarket, nor do they export any of it).

- Eric N. Squires

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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.39 in./111.51 mm.
  • Weight: 1.86 oz./52.62 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.81 in./45.97 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.35 in./34.29 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.73 in./18.54 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.77 in./44.96 mm.
  • Stem Material: Other
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bulldog
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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