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  1. RPF Premium Member
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    Jul 30, 2017, 5:23 PM - Re: Highlander Duncan katana. #26

    Excellent work so far. Enjoying your progress.

    parfaitelumiere said: View Post
    Also found this tsuba pictures, sadly it's sold, but it's a original edo period kinai school tsuba.

    Attachment 741562
    Though close, that's not the original Edo-period Japanese tsuba Marto based their design on. This is (at bottom right, click to enlarge):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Note the open mouth on the bottom bird and the wing feather designs.

    Depicted on the tsuba are two Japanese Onagadori ("long-tailed fowl") fighting cocks. These birds were first bred in the Kochi prefecture during the Edo period. This area used to be a part of the Tosa province, which is why the birds are also referred to as "Tosa-no-Onagadori." The birds were initially bred only on the estate of the Daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) of Tosa. Today, these birds are designated a Japanese Natural Monument.

    It's interesting that the Season 3 episode "The Samurai," in which it is revealed that Duncan received his katana from a Japanese mentor, takes place in 1778, just after the origin of the Onagadori breed sometime between 1760 and 1770, preventing the tsuba design from being an anachronism.

    The tsuba from the pic above belonged (at the time the picture was taken—September 1928) to Dr. Isaac Wyman Drummond, who possessed a nice collection of antique Japanese sword furniture until his death in 1933. Marto based many of their tsuba designs on actual antique tsubas in their collection, so they may actually own the original now.
    Last edited by Spyhunter2k; Jul 30, 2017 at 5:43 PM.
  2. RPF Premium Member parfaitelumiere's Avatar
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    Jul 31, 2017, 4:47 AM - Re: Highlander Duncan katana. #27

    Yes there were variations on tsuba design, even from same school and same make from same week.
    I remember the one I pictured is smaller it can explain the different design, and the one you pictured is different too.
    I found this and that, and there are also variations, not only the size but some subtile design change even it's clearly the same maker using exactly the same tools.
    First is mine, second is on japanese website:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sadly, for Highlander, they didn't avoid anachronism, because the original preiod items were made by kinai school, and there are no brass used in kinai school tsuba, only iron, so they coud have made iron finish, to really match the historical accuracy, but I think they didn't even think about it, because the kind of material for the handle is also a later design, even it woul dhave been genuine ivory, it's more typical from meiji period,as mots of the well made brass tsuba (snake design is good example) made for collection, not use.
    But it's a production movie, not historical decument, if it would, there would never be fake ivory handles, most of movie swords are wrong.
    I like the namban tsuba on top right of your picture.
  3. RPF Premium Member
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    Jul 31, 2017, 12:09 PM - Re: Highlander Duncan katana. #28

    parfaitelumiere said: View Post
    Yes there were variations on tsuba design, even from same school and same make from same week.
    I remember the one I pictured is smaller it can explain the different design, and the one you pictured is different too.
    I found this and that, and there are also variations, not only the size but some subtile design change even it's clearly the same maker using exactly the same tools.
    First is mine, second is on japanese website:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20496194_1513948755342470_1031486474_n.jpg 
Views:	12 
Size:	76.5 KB 
ID:	747958Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20526566_1513952325342113_790055209_n.jpg 
Views:	9 
Size:	38.4 KB 
ID:	747959

    Sadly, for Highlander, they didn't avoid anachronism, because the original preiod items were made by kinai school, and there are no brass used in kinai school tsuba, only iron, so they coud have made iron finish, to really match the historical accuracy, but I think they didn't even think about it, because the kind of material for the handle is also a later design, even it woul dhave been genuine ivory, it's more typical from meiji period,as mots of the well made brass tsuba (snake design is good example) made for collection, not use.
    But it's a production movie, not historical decument, if it would, there would never be fake ivory handles, most of movie swords are wrong.
    I like the namban tsuba on top right of your picture.
    Ah, good point about the iron. But the Marto tsuba is bronze-colored, not brass (not solid bronze, but plated). And there are examples of bronze tsubas from the Edo period, at least according to Ebay.

    That said, I'd forgotten that in the episode Koto mentions the sword was made in 1592, so was almost 200 years old already when Duncan received it. But I guess the bronze tsuba could have been swapped onto the sword recently.

    There were apparently many tsuba designs that became famous themselves, and were copied by others. Nowadays, you can get Chinese-made tsubas in many of these traditional designs. Take the one you posted above, for example. It's available at this aliexpress.com page (design #11). And another more-detailed option here.

    For anyone after a fighting cocks tsuba (and doesn't want to buy a used Marto SOD to disassemble), at this page is one Chinese-made tsuba in the fighting cocks design. Another design can be found at this page. (Note: The design on these pages refers to each bird as a "phoenix" or "phenix." The birds on the tsuba are often mislabeled as "phoenix," the name of another breed of long-tailed chicken.) I still prefer the Marto tsuba than these alternates, though. Richer detail.

    Sorry if this brief tsuba discussion derailed the thread a bit.
    Last edited by Spyhunter2k; Jul 31, 2017 at 1:42 PM. Reason: Additional observations on bronze tsubas
  4. RPF Premium Member parfaitelumiere's Avatar
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    Jul 31, 2017, 1:36 PM - Re: Highlander Duncan katana. #29

    The original rooster fight is always iron, and seems most of the times with gold eyes.
    Sadly these chinese replicas are so ugly and innacurate it's a loss to buy them, however it's still interesting to see variations!
    It's also funny to see my anrique tsuba repicated with modern materials.
    It would be interesting to see if there is a iro original version of this tsuba, mine is probably meiji period, but maybe the design is popular and available in iron and it woul dmean with many many luck, it would be possible to find a original japanese brass rooster fight tsuba.
    But as a moder choice, depending on budget, better to buy a marto sword or request one from Irishamericanlad, or from me if I make some brass castings of my self made tsuba.
    It's definitely really different from alloy tsubas, and if one alloy tsuba was to choose, only the marto would be ok imo.
    I paid about 60$ shipped for my entire sword, so it's not a big bill for the pieces.
    It would be interesting to find a original japanese menuki like the one that was copied on the marto sword, because they made mistake and I really would see the other side!

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