Tsuge Ikebana: Smooth Tomato (Kikuchi) (G) (031) (2021) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-623-2558

The three artisans that work out of the small Ikebana workshop in Japan are incredibly talented individuals, each given the freedom to craft shapes that are utterly their own and in styles that reflect their own sensibilities. Of the three, Asami Kikuchi is the youngest, though she has honed her artistic talent for many years before joining the team and, once there, was mentored for a full year by the head of the workshop Kazuhiro Fukuda who, himself, was taught by Sixten Ivarsson and boasts over 40 years of experience. This Tomato from Kikuchi displays an easy flow throughout its build and a very Danish style in its composition. When I see this pipe I am struck immediately by the translation of the name Ikebana, "living flowers" in English, as I find this to be an excellent representation of that appellation, though rendered in briar.

When I mentioned flow in regard to this piece, I mean to draw attention to the central line that runs from the bit to the rim, as it ebbs along like a babbling brook down into the shank before rising gently into prominence by the lifted heel. While there is a clear separation between briar and vulcanite at the shank end, courtesy of the shank's consistent flare, its dome at the end, and the marriage to a more svelte saddle stem, it feels natural, something attested to visually by the nestling of the stem base into the shank face via a small area of concave drilling. The transition here is fairly wide, allowing the thumb to drape over it easily, and grows swiftly to the rim, one of the most visually arresting elements of this pipe, as it is not only inflated to a palpable softness, but given a vertical apex at either flank, with the fore and aft dipping low to emphasize the shape's squatness. At just a touch over five inches long, this is quite a compact piece, though it packs a great deal of substance into such a tight-knit package, the expertly shaped stummel dressed in a warm mahogany stain that reveals straight grain running from flank to flank and birdseye resplendent on the rim and underside.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.07 in./128.78 mm.
  • Weight: 1.76 oz./49.90 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.25 in./31.75 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.00 in./25.40 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.73 in./18.54 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.75 in./44.45 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Tomato
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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