SHIBUI SWORDS & TSUBA
The Japanese concept of Shibui is a fascination of ultimate beauty. Honorable wear in normal care and use imparts an aura that is the ultimate in desirability. To experience a well preserved work of art (Sword/ Tsuba) that has seen honest wear and use (for which it was intended) and to be able to place it within a recognizable frame of reference is to me the ultimate in collecting.
Welcome to SHIBUI SWORDS & TSUBA. My name is Elliott Long. I became involved
with Antique Japanese Swords in 2004. During this initial study period, my appreciation for another form of Japanese Metal Art (Tsuba) developed. as you will soon realize. There is an essence and a quality about 'Intellectualism' that renews and inspires. In any field of study, it is knowledge that serves to transmit among a single generation of students, as well as from one generation to the next, the values, insights, culture and aesthetics which surround that field. In a field as explicit and highly detailed as Tsuba, education is the means by which the art form under attention is preserved and protected.
In 2005, I attended the San Francisco Token Kai and displayed the three tsuba that were the beginnings of my collection. One particular tsuba was signed but I could not read the kanji. This was my opportunity to introduce myself to Robert E. Haynes, who, also, was in attendance. After introductions, I asked if he could translate the signature. In less than 30 seconds, Robert gave me the name 'Sukeyoshi' explaining that he was a swordsmith who made tsuba in the late Edo period - a real "Tosho" tsuba. Robert also gave me a quick lesson as to the kanji that Sukeyoshi used for his mei. I thanked Robert and returned to my table.
In 2010, I learned that Robert Haynes lived in the state of Washington. I wrote a letter and ask if I could visit with him. He responded with elation. This was the beginning of our friendship.
About Robert E. Haynes. Robert Haynes bought his first tsuba at the age of 15 in 1945. He paid a $1.00 for it and started his "first collection." By 1960 he had been a collector for almost fifteen years years and had amassed about 500 tsuba and other fittings. After he returned from his years of study with Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye, in 1960, he realized that at least 300 of the tsuba that he had collected over these fifteen years would have to go. They were just not good enough for the type of collection he was now going to form. Because of his "new" knowledge of fittings, and trained by the greatest master of his day, he wished now to have a pure "Japanese" style collection, one of everything that was in the Furukawa Collection book. So for the next few years he collected only those pieces that were classic to a great collection in Japan. By 1972 he realized that this was not "HIS" collection, in reality, but what he was supposed to collect by Japanese standards, not his own taste or preference. There were many pieces in this "second" collection that he liked very much and out of the 700 or so pieces, there were about a dozen he still wishes he had today. Most are published in one book or catalog or another and many of his friends, including me, now own various pieces and seem to value them far more than he did when he owned them. Perhaps that is because they came so easily to him.
While all this tsuba collecting was going on his other passion, that has not waned, to this day, is his library. He started collecting books on tsuba and many other areas of Japanese art and history almost as soon as he bought his first tsuba. In this fifty years of book collecting he found that they have given him as much information and pleasure as the objects themselves. Even today he finds books that he can add to the many hundreds in his library that add to his knowledge and interest in Japanese sword fittings. Robert is not a collector anymore. He does not have that burning desire to "own" objects, as he did 40-50 years ago. This does not mean he has stopped acquiring fittings, but those that interest him today are not what he thought he should own thirty years ago. Now he is interested in tsuba types he has never seen before, or pieces that he can not figure how they fit into the study of this subject. Robert still collects unrecorded signatures, whereas in the past he only wanted "great" names. On the back of his desk, he still keeps a few pieces that are those strange, unusual or out of the ordinary works that he feels a need to study and try to figure how they are part of the whole world of sword fittings. As we all know "collecting" can become a disease that Robert says he is now cured of. In fact those pieces that he still acquires he does not keep after completing his study of them. The books on the other hand, he refers to many times over the years and will keep them for their value for study year in and year out.
Below, please find the path to the many tsuba that have created interest for Robert and myself by their obvious appeal of their surface beauty to their more complex aesthetic and scholarly aspects. ENJOY!
TSUBA COLLECTIVE & GAKKO
The tsuba collective shown is the result of collaboration
between Robert E. Haynes and Elliott D. Long.
Push Reload For Updates
Robert E. (Eugene) Haynes was born October 28, 1930, in Los Angeles, Calif. The only child of Robert E. Haynes and Dorothy Holmes Haynes, both only children. At age 5 he was sent to Flintridge Prep. School near Pasadena, Calif. At age 7 he went to the Calif. Prep School at Ohai, Calif., to the age of 13. The family moved to Santa Cruz, Calif. and Robert then went to the Menlo School at Menlo, Calif. (near Stanford Univ.). At age 15 his father died and he moved with his mother to Pasadena, Calif., for one more year at Flintridge Prep., and his last year of high school at John Muir High School and Junior College in Pasadena. Since his father was both artist and engineer, he drew and designed from an early age. At age 16, in Pasadena, he became an art student, in oil painting and drawing, with Paul Coze. At age 15 (1945) he bought his first tsuba (Japanese sword guard), which began his interest in Japanese art over the next 59 years. At age 20 he went to Korea and was with the 1st Field Artillery Observation Battalion, for a year. He had five days R & R from Korea, and went to Kyoto, where he bought many sword fittings and other Japanese art. To end his army time he was sent to Desert Rock, Las Vegas, for atomic tests, and saw 8 atomic bombs tested.
In 1952 he was accepted at the Slade School of Fine Art, Univ. of London. By this time he had been collecting Japanese sword fittings for ten years. In London he met W.W. Winkworth, at Sotheby's Auction House, and B.W. Robinson, at the V & A Museum, both of these venerables became his good friend. After a year at the Slade, and having won the student prize in oil painting, he returned to the U.S. He became a student at U.C.L.A. and was very fortunate to have had the late John Rosenfield as his teacher of Japanese Art 1A. After graduation from U.C.L.A. he went to Okayama Japan, in 1960, at the urging of John Yumoto, his first teacher in sword fittings, to study sword fittings with Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye, who was the last student of Akiyama Kyusaku (1844-1936), and the leading expert of his day. Akiyama was the founder of the study of sword fittings and kodogu. After a years study he went with Dr. Torigoye to Tokyo and was able to view many of the most important fittings in Japan, both in museums and in private collections. After his return to the U.S. he helped found the various Japanese sword clubs that function to this day. In 1963 he returned to Europe, and in London, was introduced to Neil Davey by Billy Winkworth, at Sotheby's, and Neil, he is proud to say, has been his friend these many years. In 1971 he returned to Japan, at the invitation of John Harding who had formed the London Gallery in Tokyo with Tajima-san. In these six months he saw numerous collections of fittings and added greatly to his own collection. By this time he had moved to San Francisco and became the oriental art expert at Butterfield & Butterfield Auction House, where he wrote several auction catalogs devoted to swords and fittings.
In 1980 he wrote the first major Japanese sword and fittings auction catalog for Christie's in New York. In 1981 he formed Robert E. Haynes Ltd. and wrote the 10 volume set of auction catalogues (1981-1984) that held thousands of impotant swords and fittings (regarded as essential to the collecting of tosogu) that were auctioned over a three and a half year period. He has written many articles on sword fittings and related Japanese art and in 2001 completed his impressive publication of the 3 volume set called “The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists”, the most comprehensive documentation of artists in the field of Japanese sword decoration to date, containing 12,560 listings of documented tosogu artisans and now including the 'Corrigenda Et Addenda' (2011). Since this time he has studied this area of Japanese craftwork like almost no other expert and carried out
research which goes far beyond the usual activity of a collector. Thousands of objects went through his hands, and even today he still continues to record everything that appears to be of importance with regards to this subject.
Robert E. Haynes was presented both this diploma upon completion of his studies with Dr. Torigoye and this certificate of recommendation by Dr. Torigoye.
Robert Haynes has aquired THE ALEXANDER G. MOSLE JOSHU KANEIE TSUBA. Robert is presenting HERE his only Hakogaki about this fine tsuba.
A Collaboration of Robert E. Haynes and Elliott D. Long
Two Swords From Private Seller Added
ShibuiSword 'Handmade' Accessories
Shibui Swords Toshokan
UPDATED February 13th, 2014
Shibui Swords Primer of Japanese Art History
Religions of the Samurai
is a meditative ritual involving a group of participants and a gathering of objects, the ultimate purpose of which is to reveal the profound sacredness at the foundation of the everyday acts of our lives: of eating, drinking, moving and interacting with people and objects. It is a lesson in the art of living fully and deeply, experiencing and gratefully appreciating the everyday miracles of existence.
See Japanese Ceramics Gallery for Chawan (Tea Bowls)
Shibui Swords Bijutsu Gakko and Study Guide
Articles, papers, essay's and descriptions of Nihon-to, Tsuba, and other subjects are included in the Study Guide along with other educational web-sites.
Study, as I have, the great Unifier's of
History of Japan, prior to 1900
Pre 1900 Kamakura Japan
"It is said that true beauty is to be found when a person completes in his or her own mind that which is incomplete". "When one considers that action is an expression of spirit, then the way to bring one's actions to a peak of perfection is to refine the heart that lies within".
How to Order or Receive More Information
E-mail to Shibui Swords
Obukan Kendo Club.
It is with both pride and humility, my fond hope that this web-site may prove as
stimulating to the viewer as it's production was to me, especially when I
studied the multiform landscape of an ancient culture and the often tragic but
brave attempts of its subjects to cope with the demands of a harsh reality.
Confronted as we are today with social and political turbulence, living under
the moment-to-moment threat of catastrophe, all studies of man's experience in
the art of violent confrontation have acquired a particular relevancy. Almost
everyone seems to agree that we must attempt to determine whether man will be
forever trapped by his apparently constitutional inclination to employ any
method, however lethal, to ensure his dominance over his fellow man, or whether
he may be capable of ritualizing and then ultimately, transforming that pattern.
In this endeavor, thoughtful studies of man's past, with all its pitfalls and
bloody errors, may prove to be a necessary and valuable factor in the final