Viktor Yashtylov: Smooth Calabash Jellyfish with Olivewood (Magnetic Stem)

Product Number: 002-523-0023

Compared to his crisply faceted pieces, this Calabash from Viktor Yashtylov is a touch more restrained. That said, it still fits in well with the Russian carver's personal style of robust proportions and innovative features — the former calls to mind the aesthetic we see from many St. Petersburg-based carvers, while the latter is evidenced particularly by Yashtylov's signature magnetic stem. Instead of a standard tenon fit into the mortise via tension and friction, the base of the stem features strong magnets that align with others positioned on the shank face. Such a creative approach allows Viktor to more seamlessly fit the stem to the stummel — as he's done here, insetting the vulcanite into the olivewood accent — while also allowing the pipe to be broken down even when hot, functioning like a military mount.

Shape-wise, this piece displays the deep, sinuous S-curve of the traditional Calabash, the shank curling easily into the bowl. The chamber cap, though, is made of briar, not meerschaum, and it extends down the bowl, overlapping the flanks, rather than simply overhanging. It's from this cue that Viktor dubbed the shape the "Calabash Jellyfish" — the domed, undulating cap resembling the body of a jellyfish. Said cap fits to the bowl via magnets, like the stem, avoiding any awkward twisting and ensuring a tightly sealed fit every time. You may also notice that the airway at the bottom of the chamber is positioned toward the fore, not toward the shank; Viktor designed this intentionally, requiring the smoke to move throughout the cooling chamber before entering the airway, making better use of the design's intended purpose.

Dressed in Viktor's oft-seen, smoky contrast stain, the grain on this piece showcases exemplary birdseye and cross grain, and I'm particularly struck by how the grain pattern of the cap aligns with the stummel — likely coming from the same briar block. Such consistency better marries the cap with the stummel, unifying the composition, and it all comes displayed in its own presentation box fashioned from briar and fitted with a cushioned inset designed specifically for this piece. A stunning example of functional art, this is a pipe designed and primed to be a collection centerpiece.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.77 in./121.16 mm.
  • Weight: 4.10 oz./116.23 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.54 in./39.12 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.33 in./33.78 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.23 in./56.64 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Russia
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