Tao: Smooth Asymmetric Bent Apple with Silver Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-748-0053

Jens "Tao" Nielsen began his pipe-making career as an apprentice in Erik Nørding's workshop, during which he overlapped with Poul Ilsted. The pair of Ilsted and Nielsen, then, ventured out together to form the Svendborg brand with Henrik Jørgensen in 1970. Gaining experience as a pipe maker, Nielsen eventually left Svendborg to open his own workshop in 1981 and focus on artisan pipes under the name Tao. Since then, Tao has become one of the most respected names in hand-carved Danish pipes, the artisan known for his quality craftsmanship, simple finishes, and personal style of compact forms and classic Danish shaping cues.

This asymmetric bent Apple highlights Tao's penchant for compact proportions while still imbuing his designs with a sense of heartiness. A low-set and tightly-knit transition maintains the bowl's curvaceous character while the stout shank ably continues the bowl's robustness. The shank itself is broad and ovoid, curving fluidly out of the transition to meet a flaring, thick-based saddle stem that takes on a smart downturn, creating a smoking posture that is extremely well-suited to clenching and minimizes the effect of this pipe's weight. On the left flank of this piece, a single soft ridgeline curves out of the shank end and pushes through to the underside of the bowl before dissipating swiftly. This side of the shank pushes out more then the left, and its extreme edge dips down a good bit further as well, following the shaping of the canted stem base.

Up front, the plump bowl maintains a lovely curvature, though the right side is slightly compressed and pushes the left side of the rim down into a sloping curve. The addition of asymmetry here serves to guide the eye forward as it follows these details, and tracing them across the stummel provides plenty of opportunity to appreciate the ample grain on display here. A warm, vibrant contrast stain illuminates a wrapping pattern of flame grain that frames a breathtaking display of birdseye through the top and underside, the latter manifesting as a vast ocean of the swirling pinpricks. A broad silver band adorns the junction, making this composition even more visually stunning and introducing a wealth of contrast, the palette both playful and regal.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.10 in./129.54 mm.
  • Weight: 2.45 oz./69.40 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.82 in./46.23 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.50 in./38.10 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.73 in./18.54 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.92 in./48.77 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Apple
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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