Title: A History of Tobacco Pipes in Japan

Speaker: Kyozaburo Tsuge

Date: Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Time: 7pm

Language: English

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Tobacco pipes were imported to Japan during the late 16th century from the Portuguese. As the custom of smoking became more widespread, domestic kiseru – a tobacco pipe – production became common. A variety of materials were used to produce kiseru, including metal; wood; stone; ceramics; and glass. Metal was the most frequently used material as it was both easy to work with and highly durable. This lecture will explore the technical evolution of kiseru manufacturing and craftsmanship from the Edo period (1603-1868) to the Meiji period (1868-1912); and also look at how the humble kiseru transformed from a plain, functional, metal pipe to a canvas for craftsmen to demonstrate their artistic prowess with demanding techniques such as carving and inlaying. 

Mr. Kyozaburo Tsuge is the president of Tsuge Pipe Company. He is also a researcher on Japanese smoking accessories and traditional Japanese artworks including netsuke and woodblock prints. He is the only person of Asian descent to hold the title “Pipe Knight of the Year”, awarded by the German Tobacco Collegium. Mr. Tsuge is devoted to the promotion of traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

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