The dragon Tsuba is probably made of brass. The manufacturer is: "This Tsuba is made of brass." And so it looks from the outside and from! If you tell them apart saws (That you must not imitate ;-) sees the color inside more like steel from. But there are also brass that has a lighter color than the known (ste) brass. I quote times from Wikipedia:
"The color of brass is determined primarily by the zinc content: With zinc contents of up to 20% of brass is brownish to brownish-reddish, at levels higher than 36% light yellow to almost white yellow."
So I guess that -if it really a brass Tsuba actual brass with a high zinc content, and was helped along only from the outside, so that it receives the quasi typical brass color. The tsuba has a slight gloss, which comes at a closer look by a transparent varnish. However, this never feels intrusive or exaggerated. The tsuba seems a bit easier than others Tsubas of comparable size, but since I'm wrong maybe. I have weighed this Dragon Tsuba not yet. Am I doing maybe later. Interested someone how difficult / easy is this dragon tsuba? It is a very beautiful and special Tsuba! Very decorative. The whole tsuba consists of a single Asian dragon, which forms the Tsuba ring. The diameter of the Tsuba is about 8 centimeters, the thickness is about 0.5 centimeters. All beautifully done. Only the head, I think, might be happy to protrude 2 or 3 mm to the front ... because as the head looks a little flat hmm. (But that is no point deduction :)
The dragon of the Tsuba has 3 claws, so there is a Japanese dragon. Nevertheless: Made in China)
John Lee and his sword and Tsuba blacksmith's Chinese.
This Asian dragons are indeed a mythical creature from Asia, but actually represent a deity represents, and he was formerly the Avatar (= deputy figure / symbol) of the Chinese emperor. The first dragon motifs from China date from 480 221 BC! He is probably the most famous mythical creatures all of Asia! So a dragon with a long tradition and history. There is a Chinese and a Japanese Dragon variation. The Chinese dragon has usually 4 finger / claw, the Japanese dragon has only 3. Only the emperor himself was allowed to have pictures dragon with 5 claws. (Who was against this law, was punishable by death!)
So much for this very nice tsuba.
The Katana itself is quite well finished. Everything has come to attention and is secure, nothing wobbles. Fixed handle winding.
Same is but -as usual-in this price range only of two strips, no full Same-wrapping! (At full "hard" sword use it is quite possible that the winding of the handle slipping a bit. But this takes probably already a very large force :) Who a katana with a "better" would grip, has to pay much more money !! (And if you want a real-Japanese Katana from Japan, quickly pays times 10 to 30 thousand euros !!!) What exactly is the seed for a material, I can not confirm one hundred percent. Real Rayskin to the price is already possible, or at least Sharkskin? (There are now probably but even synthetic material that looks very similar to the original. And since I am neither an expert nor a leather plastic, I therefore consider myself out of it ...)
The blade has a Bo-Hi. These seem now unfortunately almost all swords in this price range to have.
(Well, that saves in China material costs.) One can get used to it. But a blade without Bo-Hi I find almost more beautiful.
I've also never seen any old original swords with Bo-Hi, in the samurai films one sees virtually no Bo-Hi blades -deshalb which still seems to me like a recent invention :) The real Japanese Swords that you see on TV, the blades are probably all a little wider. Incidentally, the swords were forged in general with a wider blade in ancient Japan in wartime. (Dotanuki). 5 or even 10 mm longer would the optical blade aesthetics really done very well! That the blade width in these John Lee swords is limited to the least is a great pity! , This has unfortunately also means that the Hamon is very narrow. It is really desirable for the John Lee forged would beat their swords future wider!
Hamon is sanded. With swords in this price range that is sanded.
(Or, failing that acid etched into it. By sandblasting goes.)
At this price you can not real Hamon by costly treatment / cure with a clay mixture (clay, water, finely ground whetstone and charcoal ash) expect. Who wants a katana with a real Hamon, pay quickly once twice ...
The blade sharpness I would describe with Good. Even sharper was possible. But which one of you really need that? : - /
The (exaggerated) of focus should be the most important thing in a sword not necessarily.
The scabbard (Saya) in black glossy lacquer style has no specific Koiguchi (opening Saya) and no special Kojiri (Saya-completion), so only wood, no additional material. That the Saya has a gloss finish, I think actually a disadvantage: finger / handprints are there pre-programmed! :( It looks absolutely not nice. And every time the Saya Plasters, if you had kept the part time in the hands of ... who wants that? Is probably not good in the long run for the Saya paint. So what the concerns are the matt lacquered Saya's probably a lot better, of usable! The cotton belt winding around the scabbard around the now common "decorative knot." I do not know exactly when this type of binding was invented, real Samurai in use that did not have any case .. so because this band at that time was a commodity, and it has more wrapped loosely around the Saya and knotted Maybe so there were businessmen sold the Japanese swords, or Japanese are no longer used their old valuable -and mainly - Japanese Swords wanted to present nicely. But that's ultimately not matter. Unless you want it historically totally correct.
This John Lee Katana Dragon is a beautiful and good part within this price range.
Value for money is good. All in all: buy recommendation.
By the way there is the matching John Lee Dragon Wakizashi: Novelty! John Lee Dragon Wakizashi Handforged,
PS: John Lee was a student of Paul Chen and has his own business a few years ago. He is now a serious competitor for Paul Chen, the prices are quite a bit cheaper than the aid could still known Paul Chen Swords. But I would even say that John Lee is now what Paul Chen used to be. The student has thus overtaken the master ;-)
There is a sword from the forge of Paul Chen (Hanwei) called "Shinto Elite Katana" with real hamon, which is about 4 times as expensive as this one. It has almost exactly the same as the Dragon Tsuba Dragon Katana John Lee, only the color is darker at the Shinto Elite Katana Tsuba, or black. (When John Lee Dragon Katana The Tsuba's brass colors or brass.) But the form of the Dragon Tsuba is exactly the same! I guess that it was the Paul Chen Shinto Katana Elite first, and that John Lee Dragon Katana is the cheap replica. At least the shape of the tsuba 1 has been taken over to 1.
But the same dark Tsuba is also found in a "Bushido Musashi - Dragon Fury Battle Ready Katana" sword.
And then also a new sword from 2013: "Black Dragon Katana Dotanuki"
So you see: That's all mass-produced, used repeatedly and repeatedly copied.