Specially manufactured to celebrate the 8th year of the 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar, the limited edition pipes 'Year of the Sheep' are the eighth in a series of pipes that represent the Chinese Zodiac signs.
This year’s pipes are the classic Dublin in Group 4 (4105) in Chestnut and Cumberland finishes with a hand-cut marbled Cumberland tapered mouthpiece that bears the famous White Spot.
Each pipe is fitted with a 10mm Sterling Silver band engraved with the zodiac sign of a sheep and is supplied with a specially manufactured soft leather case, which is not available otherwise.
This edition is nominally limited to only 388 pieces worldwide in Chestnut finish and 388 pieces in Cumberland finish.
Since all numbers containing the digit ‘4’ pipe have been excluded (‘4’ stands for death in various Asian countries), there are actually only 313 pipes per finish being manufactured, of which only 312 pieces will be offered for sale. The edition number ‘1’ will be kept in the White Spot archive.
Worldwide launch January 2015.
Dublin - Shape 05 - Classic, straight White Spot shape.
Chestnut finish - Smooth finish, Chestnut brown colour, launched in 1982.
Cumberland finish - Sandblast finish, Brown colour, Sandblasted finish invented in 1917 by Alfred Dunhill, brown variety introduced in 1979.
Vulcanite mouthpiece - Traditional hand-cut taper mouthpiece, individually manufactured & fitted for each single pipe.
Size - Gr. 4 – medium to large size.
10mm Sterling silver band - Engraved with image of the sheep.
Leather Pouch - Complementary soft lamb-nappa pouch with sheep embossing; pouch is not sold as individual product.
Limited Edition - Exclusive and collectable. Although stamped up to 388, only 313 pipes in this finish will be manufactured, of which only 312 units will be offered for sale.
Certificate - Individually numbered between 1 to 388 (omitting all numbers containing a ‘4’).
The Twelve Animals
In Chinese astrology, there are twelve animals representing twelve different types of characters or personalities. The Zodiac animals are, in successive order, the rat (or mouse), ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (or ram or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Thus, it is the rabbit, which is the fourth animal in each twelve-year calendar cycle.
Different stories and versions exist that explain why it is those animals that are represented. One legend tells that a race was used to decide on the animals that were to report to the Jade Emporer.
The cat and the rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although bad swimmers, they were both intelligent. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of the ox. The ox, being a naïve and good-natured animal, agreed to carry them across. However, overcome with a fierce competitiveness, the rat decided that in order to win, it must do something and promptly pushed the cat into the river. Because of this, the cat has never forgiven the rat, and hates the water as well. After the ox had crossed the river, the rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, and it claimed first place in the competition.
Following closely behind was the strong ox, and it was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After the ox, came the tiger, panting, while explaining to the Emperor just how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with powerful strength, it made it to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle.
Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound, and the rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race but the rabbit was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. So, it became the 4th animal in the zodiac cycle.
Coming in 5th place was the dragon, flying and belching fire into the air. Of course, the Emperor was deeply curious as to why a strong and flying creature such as the dragon should fail to reach first. The mighty dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, and therefore he was held back a little. Then, on his way to the finish line, he saw a little helpless rabbit clinging on to a log so he did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the dragon, and he was added into the zodiac cycle.
As soon as he had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the horse appeared. Hidden on the horse's hoof is the snake, whose sudden appearance gave the horse a fright, thus making it to fall back and gave the snake 6th spot while the horse took the 7th.
Not long after that, a little distance away, the ram, monkey and rooster came to the shore. These three creatures helped each other to get to where they are. The rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the ram and the monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore. Because of their combined efforts, the Emperor was very pleased and promptly named the ram as the 8th creature, the monkey as the 9th, and the rooster the 10th.
The 11th animal is the dog. His explanation for being late—although he was supposed to be the best swimmer amongst the rest—was that he needed a good bath after a long spell, and the fresh water from the river was too big a temptation. For that, he almost didn't make it to the finish line.
Just as the Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little pig. The pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the pig continued the race and was named the 12th and last animal of the zodiac cycle. The cat finished too late (thirteenth) to win any place in the calendar, and vowed to be the enemy of the rat forevermore.