Yang Kun: Smooth Nautilus (Signature) (2266) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-905-0011

Yang Kun's background is rather interesting, with his professional life including being a makeup artist for television and film in his home country of China. In 2010 he was introduced to pipes and pipe making by a friend through a collected book of Sixten Ivarsson's work; two years later Kun quit his job in the entertainment industry to pursue pipe making as a full-time career. His trajectory benefited from training under experienced artisan Hongjian Qiu who, himself, was trained by some of the great Danish artisans, teaching Kun vital elements of the craft such as proper drilling and how to create a good draw with hand-funneled stems. His work reflects his deeply held respect for the Danish aesthetic, as well as a love for other Asian artisans, all tempered by his own unique, personal touch.

The Nautilus is a shape initially conceptualized by Bo Nordh, and it was one of the Swedish artisan's more organically-inclined profiles, something which Yang Kun has here made all his own. Contrary to the shape's more oft-seen iterations, this piece eschews the shank's top connection to the bowl or transition, leaving an upturned extension of briar that is extremely lively in silhouette, carved at the end to feature a somewhat "forked" look. A sweeping curvature possesses the underside of the stummel here, flaring out in the expected fashion to a broad, expansive rim whose left and aft sides push out in a shelf-like style that matches the shape of the shank end at the aft. These two sides come quite close to each other, and the negative space it offers is nearly circular, calling back to the hollow space at the transition which is so widespread in other imaginings of this shape.

A trio of ridgelines surround the stummel here, with two on the left flank and one on the right, these three lending the composition a wonderful asymmetricality that sees the left side take on a more angular look, as a broad, flowing panel tapers sharply into the topmost ridge. In either hand this piece is quite comfortable, with ample room for the thumb to drape over the transition and plenty of deft shaping, bringing out a wealth of comfortable contours for the fingers to enjoy. A brass ring inlay at the shank face reinforces the base of the stem, with the stem itself being a sleek, stylized saddle stem fitted with an expansion ring at the base. Dressing this pipe is a vibrant, natural stain that highlights vivid streaks of dense cross grain across either flank of the stummel, wrapping over the rim and framing a vast ocean of birdseye across the bottom.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

22 66

  • Length: 5.11 in./129.79 mm.
  • Weight: 2.14 oz./60.78 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.94 in./49.28 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.32 in./33.53 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.71 in./18.03 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.58 in./40.13 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: China
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