Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   A Stunning High-Gothic Tiller Arquebus, ca. 1400? (

Matchlock 16th May 2012 02:18 PM

A Stunning High-Gothic Tiller Arquebus, ca. 1400?
12 Attachment(s)
Of wrought iron, multi-staged and fitted with two iron reinforcing rings, the socket for the tiller stock (missing) wrought integrally.
Overall length 29.5 cm.

The manufacturing techniques, the short actual barrel length just sufficient to receive a stone ball, the angularly reinforced breech with the big molded touch hole on top and the state of corrosion would all suggest a small stone-ball firing gun (Steinbüchse) of Northern European provenance and an age of ca. 600 years; the catalog description labeled it as 'Chinese, 19th c.' though.

Another fine example of a very similar small stone-ball firing gun, with an iron ring for employing it on horseback, 34.2 cm long, was sold Sotheby's London, 4.12.1988 (attached).

The small iron or bronze guns that I have seen offered with a Chinese or Indonesian provenance were often three- or four-barreled and reinforced with comparatively thin rings only, like the one fitted with percussion nipples (attached at bottom).

I would be interested to learn members' opinions on this topic - and to see more such Indonesian and Chinese primitive guns looking a lot like they were made in Old Europe 600 years ago!


Matchlock 16th May 2012 02:41 PM

9 Attachment(s)
One last close-up of the muzzle of the Sotheby's gun; next a piece of German period artwork showing a knight on horseback firing an arquebus suspended on a ring, and a three-bareled Chinese handgonne with percussion nipples.


Matchlock 16th May 2012 03:32 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Please see also

and this short tiller arquebus of ca. 1430-40 in my collection (attachments).
Please note especially the short angularly reinforced breech with the molded touch hole, which is very similar to the one of the first barrel in this thread.


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