Xu Hai: Sandblasted Bent Egg with Mammoth Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-778-0018

A graduate of China's Central Academy of Fine Arts, Xu Hai holds a doctorate in the field, his specialization in painting soon becoming an incredible talent for traditional calligraphy. Currently one of the most celebrated calligraphers in China, Xu Hai has not only won countless awards for his work, but he's taught the art form to others as a professor, and he's served as one of the directors of the Chinese Calligraphers Association: his achievements truly ensconcing him as a master. An avid pipe smoker with an impressive collection of pipes by legendary artisans, Xu Hai's progression into pipe making came from a desire to push his skills further and to master the art of carving briar in the tradition of the legends he's admired. Taught by both Lars and Nanna Ivarsson, Xu Hai views the process of pipe making through the lens of seal cutting, another art form in which his work is highly celebrated, in that both the process of delicately engraving stone with the structured characters of the Chinese language and shaping briar are inherently subtractive: requiring the careful removal of material to achieve one's ideal design, with any misstep resulting in permanent changes to the ultimate outcome.

Xu Hai's Ivarssonian influence is on full display in this bent Egg, its form immediately reminiscent of both Lars and Nanna's work, though also his own in almost equal measure, creating an outline that's both boldly organic and stunningly refined in its steep sinuousness. The overall feel of this pipe is quite hearty, with ample thickness through the shank and bowl, though its feel in hand is reserved, speaking to the impressive balance of this pipe and its even proportions throughout: certainly offering a presence in hand, but one that's softly comforting. The transition here is wide, with plenty of room to drape a digit, and it gives way to a cylindrical shank of consistent thickness through its remarkably vertical curl upward, the length of the shank contributing significantly to its impact on the composition and the profound sophistication of the shape as a whole. The consistent thickness of the shank, coupled with its extended reach, keep the curves of this pipe fluid, with a natural flow from the bowl into the transition and from the transition into the shank: melding what are often two disparate areas of the pipe into a more unified whole. This shank is capped with a trim, rounded ring of mammoth that's then met by a demurely curved saddle stem of jet-black vulcanite, the stem's base carved in a dome that organically continues the lines of the shank through the junction.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.21 in./132.33 mm.
  • Weight: 2.69 oz./76.20 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.05 in./52.07 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.71 in./43.43 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.73 in./18.54 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.90 in./48.26 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Egg
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: China
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