Hiroyuki Tokutomi: Sandblasted Tomato (Snail) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-141-1047

Alright. This is not what I would have expected from Tokutomi. It reminds me, and bear with me here, of the Pease / Di Piazza designed series that Radice makes. Yep, this is the very first occasion I have ever had to compare Tokutomi and anything made by Radice, but it fits here. The thick, chubby lines, the rotund bowl, fat, short shank, short stem are all elements that one would not normally expect from Tokutomi. Not even a little bit.

I almost wrote, and I'm serious here, "aside from the shape, the shape is very Tokutomi." While logically fallacious, it's not wholly without truth (or, perhaps, a sort of Colbertian 'truthiness'). What I mean is that while the overarching shape couldn't be less Tokutomi--the ratio of the width of the bowl to the width of the shank and the ratio of the length of the shank to that of the stem and the overall width to length ratio--the internal stylistic elements are still unmistakably Tokutomi.

From the asymmetrical undulation of the rim to the subtle asymmetry of the bowl thanks to a patch of plateau on the left side to the lines of the back of the bowl and top of the shank, this is very Tokutomi. His use of contrast stained smooth areas--on the rim, around the end of the shank and for the nomenclature on the bottom of the shank--is also very Tokutomi. He heightens this contrast by using a light stain over most of the pipe, but using a dark contrast stain on the smooth areas. On his sandblasted pipes, Tokutomi uses the mix of finishes to good effect.

It's also worth noting, though this could be said of many of Tokutomi's sandblasts, that the way Tokutomi uses the smooth patch that is left for the nomenclature as a stylistic component is really special. Instead of treating this area as something to be set aside, which serves the sole purpose of bearing the maker's information, Tokutomi incorporates the area into the composition, placing it on half-moon shapes, or angular arrow shapes (as is the case here) pointing along the lines of the pipe in its direction of motion.

So, while the overall shape is something of a surprise from Tokutomi, the total composition is less startling within his oeuvre. Moreover, so much of Tokutomi's work is about pushing the edges both of what defines a pipe and of his own personal style that it's not terribly unusual for him to branch out in surprising ways occasionally. Regardless of how you 'read' it, it's a remarkable pipe.

-- Sykes Wilford

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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.60 in./116.84 mm.
  • Weight: 2.10 oz./59.53 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.49 in./37.85 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.19 in./30.23 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.01 in./51.05 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Tomato
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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