Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Matchlock 16th June 2010 09:28 PM

A Unique Double Barrel Bronze Tiller Haquebut, North Germany, ca. 1420
8 Attachment(s)
Got these pics from a pal who took them in Schloss Gottorp, the Schleswig Holstein Museum.

He did not give any measurements but, neglecting the replacement stock, I would estimate the length of the barrels to ca. 50-60 cm.

Please note the rectangularly raised priming pans that seem to be characteristic of the North of Germany and the early 15th century.

The recoil hook was perfect for firing them from behind a a large set targe or a hand targe in field fight. It is the only DB sample known to me to have survived from that early period.

This piece is also remarkable for its angled barrels designed to cover a broader range, and possibly loaded with a 'buckshot' like number of balls or pieces of lead or iron, in one word: blunder.

Best, Michael

fernando 17th June 2010 12:52 PM

Superb :cool: .
Now i know where the modern gunmakers took the idea for blunderbuss barrels ;) .

Matchlock 17th June 2010 06:51 PM

Exactly, 'Nando! :rolleyes:


Spiridonov 18th June 2010 11:26 AM

Thank you, Michael. it is a VERY impressive!!! :eek: Do you have a highresolution photos of this?

Matchlock 18th June 2010 12:15 PM

Hi Alexander,

Sorry but I don't have high res images of these; I just put them on the forum the way I received them.


Matchlock 18th June 2010 01:24 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is the famous Morkö gun, preserved in the Swedish National Museum Stockholm, early 15th century.

It, like the above posted double barrel gun, is of cast bronze and has a rectangular touchhole with a raised brim. As far as I remember, the Gothic minuscule script is illegible, its letters being just stylized ornaments.

Much has been said and written about the bearded head behind the touchhole; it seems like it reminds many people of traditional portraits of Jesus Christ.

I should add that the hand in the picture holds the small gun at a hook very similar to the one on the DB piece in Stockholm.

I will look for better pics of this fine and unique High Gothic little guy. Of course I will strictly keep them to myself and would never share them with anybody - except you, pals, that is: :eek: :cool:


Matchlock 21st June 2010 02:58 PM

12 Attachment(s)
I have to apologize but I could not find but one single better photo of the Morkö (or Mörkö) gun.

The gun was excavated from the Baltic Sea near Nynäs, on the coast of Södermansland, by a fishing boat before 1828. After being in a couple of private collections, it finally found its home in the Swedish Royal Collections. It measures 19.3 cm overall, with a steady caliber of 21 mm smoothbore, weight 945 g, of hexagonal shape, which is characteristic of guns around or shortly after 1400, and the rear socket for the tiller stock is 6.9 cm long. As the first hooks on barrels do not seem to have appeared before ca. 1430, this feature gives a good reason for attributing this small gun (German Faustrohr) to about that date.

Depicting a bearded face in high relief is quite usual for artisans of the High Gothic period around 1400 and is also found e.g. on contemporary stoneware (see attachment of an earthen jug decorated with three bearded faces, ca. 1420, preserved in the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Frankfurt/Main). It certainly has nothing to do with the portrait of Jesus Christ but simply reflects the taste of fashion of that period and, of course, has an apotropaic (warding off disaster) function in those superstitious times as well.

This head of course blocks the sight when the gun is aimed but on the other hand acts as a fire guard.

The Gothic minuscule script mentions the word maria several times; the rest is, as I said, illegible and mere decoration. This religious invocation of Holy Mary is sometimes found on helmets and swords.

There is only one other contemporary and stylistically comparable small bronze Faustrohr known to exist, namely in a German private collection (not mine :( :shrug: ). Its barrel is four-staged (the conical socket which has two opposite nail holes for fixing the wooden tiller neglected): a hexagonal breech section with a raised mascaron as touchhole, a hexagonal middle section, a short forward section with offset sides and a reinforced muzzle head in the shape of three bearded faces (please cf. the above-said).
This piece was dug up from the sludge of a pool near Schwedt by the Oder River before 1920.

The supposed date of ca. 1430 is backed up further by the small touchhole with its slightly deepened, rudimentary pan molding. While the Mörkö gun, as well as the double barrel sample, has a small trough with a raised brim around the touchhole, the latter here is formed as the mouth of a distorted human face.

The measurents are:

overall length: 18.3 cm
barrel length: 13.0 cm
caliber inside: 10 mm
caliber at muzzle: 12 mm smoothbore
diameter of the touchhole: 4 mm (at the vent), widening to 6 mm inside
weight: 720 g

The attachments from top to bottom:

the Mörkö gun

the gun with three bearded heads:

- overall view, top
- overall view, slanted
- two sectional drawings
- held in hand
- muzzle section
- the three bearded heads at the muzzle section
- a contemporary earthen jug with three heads
- a distorted face, its open mouth forming the touchhole
- the rear end of the tiller socket
- the muzzle



Spiridonov 21st June 2010 05:36 PM

1 Attachment(s)
It is one of my fovorite handgonnes. I have a photo from another view:

Spiridonov 21st June 2010 05:40 PM

I have a color photo but I can't find this at my PC :(

Matchlock 21st June 2010 05:41 PM

Excellent, Alexander, :)

I didn't know that view - thanks for sharing!


Matchlock 21st June 2010 05:43 PM

Please keep searching for that color photo!!!!

Matchlock 21st June 2010 05:59 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is the only color image I have, sadly of poor quality.

The stock of course is a very convincing reproduction.


Spiridonov 21st June 2010 06:52 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Matchlock 21st June 2010 07:10 PM

Now that's what I call a brilliant image - thank you so much! :)

What about a cute bronze handgonne on the long and stoney road to cannon heaven every now and then, Fernando? ;) :cool: :eek:


Spiridonov 22nd June 2010 08:18 AM


fernando 27th July 2010 02:12 PM

Hi Michl,

Originally Posted by Matchlock
... What about a cute bronze handgonne on the long and stoney road to cannon heaven every now and then, Fernando? ;) :cool: :eek: ...

Only now i saw this part :o .
Yes, i figure the heaven doorman will check on our collection before determining which section we will reside in.
You will have a palace allocated to you, i am sure :eek: .

Matchlock 27th July 2010 07:05 PM

Hi Nando,

I'm just wondering which side that palace would be on ... :cool: :eek:


Matchlock 1st August 2010 07:45 PM

Before the early 15th century, no makers or other marks are known, be it on guns or on any other work of arts and crafts; it was only during the 1st half of the 15th c. that artisans and craftsmen began to develop that special self confidence.

As I stated in some of the earlier posts in this thread, the Gothic minuscule script here is mostly ornament in the form of letters; only the word maria is identifiable as a religious invocation.

I would say that the ornamental script was engraved after the casting of the barrel; it looks just too delicate and neat for being the result of casting.


Matchlock 4th August 2010 07:30 PM

Now I can see what marks you meant and attach the pics. As far as I could gather from the heap of images there are at least two different marks. Based on the fact that I date the Mörkö gun to ca. 1430, they could be either High Gothic housemarks carrying a certain symbol, owner's or maker's marks (they are chiseled, not casted) or may have apotropaic (warding off evil) function quite common of those superstitious times; the bearded head in high relief on the Mörkö gun, in all proboability, served the same purpose. On the other hand, the mark with the M shaped base could also be a simple way of early numbering - cf. the numbering on the hook of my huge Nuremberg bronze Doppelhaken - , and it may as well represent the stylized tree of life. The other mark, in the shape of an arrow, might be a workshop mark denoting that that worksphop had formerly manufactured arrow heads.

Just to demonstrate how dangerous any statement on that early field may be, I must correct myself for saying that marks on guns and related arts and crafts generally do not appear before the beginning of the 15th century. Let me just mention the marks and inscriptions on sword blades, or the little arrowhead mark on my small Aljubarrota barrel of ca. 1360-80. :shrug:


Lee 16th August 2010 04:00 PM

Thread has been edited in compliance with a DMCA takedown notice
This page has been edited in compliance with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice with removal of the allegedly infringing photographs; the previous two posts refer in part to images no longer remaining in the thread.

Matchlock 19th August 2010 07:52 PM

What I pity, Lee,

to range the owner's alledged 'photo rights' above my academically correct and righteous quotation and crediting that guy for the linked and borrowed images.

It was nothing more than the commonly accepted quoting from a printed source and simultaneously crediting the author. Taking such a step against Owen and me makes almost any academic references, any sharing and studying together literally senseless. Our work for the community could be killed by a dash any time.

Bowing down before such 'claims' I feel is an extreme personal affront against me and my hundreds of hours spent for and thousands of 'personal' images shared with you all; I had taken them by myself in hundreds of museums and collections all over Europe, which voyages cost me not 800 but many thousands of euro.

fernando 20th August 2010 08:40 AM

Thread locked until further notice.

fernando 20th August 2010 07:15 PM

Thread reopened.

Lee 20th August 2010 10:22 PM

Sometimes you do what you have to do and are soiled in the process
Please forgive as I briefly interrupt this thread with something off-topic, but possibly of legitimate interest to a membership that have come to expect archive integrity. In brief, about a month ago a new member of our forum, who is also a member on another forum, did something many all of us have all done at one time or another and that was to place a link to images of the Morko gun located on a photo album site which had been shared in the other forums community. There must have been some issue with the link and in subsequent replies several other members assisted in trying to access the pictures and several of the pictures from this album were ultimately included in this thread. These pictures did, in fact, further consideration of this artifact and led to some insightful comments from a most experienced and knowledgeable connoisseur of such artifacts on our forum. I suspect the typical Internet user would, so far, regard this as not unusual and indeed feel this is exactly what forums such as this exist on the internet to facilitate.

Then about a week ago the fecal material fell into the ventilator...

One component of US copyright law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). There is much to despise in this law (which I personally view as excellent evidence of exactly whose benefit our Congress is concerned with), but there are some practical aspects of the law where the public's interests happen to be consistent with the media companies' interests.

Relevant to forums such as these, the law provides a 'safe harbor' for Internet Service Providers, such as whoever you buy your Internet access through, as well as for sites such as youtube, facebook and the forum communities you visit. Millions upon millions of posts and 'uploads' of all sorts are made every day and a significant number of these include 'borrowed material.' The law actually recognizes that it would be impractical for all postings and uploads to require individual investigation and moderation, so, the law has a provision for copyright holders to serve a 'takedown notice' to site operators by identifying infringing material. It is more complicated, of course, but the copyright holder cannot sue the ISP or site operator for infringement provided that infringing material is removed within a reasonable time frame and there is a policy in place to ban repeat offenders.

There are some links on our rules page concerning copyright law and the doctrine of fair use which may provide useful details about the fuzzy line between fair use and infringement. I believe, at least within the US jurisdiction, that it is a myth that attribution and proper citation of a source constitute any automatic license for the use of material. A case could be made that every time a photo is lifted and placed, that an infringement has occurred, but it not at all that simple. In real world practice, particularly with the sort of material this site deals with, I believe the reality is that 99.99% of the time the copyright owner either does not care about or cannot be bothered to police infringements or is satisfied by decent and proper attribution.

There does remain, however, the occasional situation where a copyright holder chooses to enforce their legal rights and makes a takedown notification to a hosting site. This is the second or third time this has happened to our forum in over a decade of operation. The copyright holder and a licensee thereof's positions may be found in this thread on the other forum. Please realize that my linking to that thread should not imply that I concur with some of the content or characterizations contained ... and do brace for an advertising assault.

If you think we have a problem, consider this EFF advice page for persons whose videos are removed from youtube. Please refrain from turning this thread into a discussion on copyright compliance.

Lee 20th August 2010 10:47 PM

And if you want to see the pictures...
I understand there was a total of three threads involving the Morko gun over on the Graybeard Outdoors Blackpowder Mortar and Cannon forum; I have located two of them:

Morko in all his glory!

Forum road kill - Morko translation project

RocklockI 18th September 2010 01:30 AM

Morko unrest
Hello , I am Gary Lorenz (RocklockI) . I made the Morko that caused some distress a couple months ago .

I made the clay master ,the silcone mold , the wax casting and had them cast at a local founrdy .

I have cast bronze in my backyard but the Morkos have been cast off site .

I could supply some pics of my Morko work if it would like to be seen ?

Meanwhile here here is a reproduction from the Visor Collection in Amsterdam .

A 1660 VOC 2 1/2 lber .

These are inprocess pics .


Matchlock 18th September 2010 07:25 PM

Hi Gary,

Fine work, no doubt, but a 17th c. cannon is of course far from one of the early 15th century when it comes to historic importance.

May I add that the collection you mentioned is The Visser Collection, named after the late Henk L. Visser, instead of 'Visor'. ;)

What is more essential, though: I think I am speaking right out of the heart of quite a couple of members when I ask you to post (or send) the offered Mörkö pics!

What I am interested to learn personally is whether that foundry you mentioned is able to found and drill out a bronze haquebut barrel of a length of about one meter. :shrug:


RocklockI 19th September 2010 05:45 PM

Here are some photos of my Morko and tiller .

Shaft is Wild Cherry . I copied the tillers head from a viking ship head from a book called The Ship .

Hammered copper butcap .


Matchlock 19th September 2010 08:57 PM

Although the original tiller stock may not have looked much like your interpretation, the outcome is really fantabulous. :cool:

Again: how about founding and drilling a barrel of a length of one meter? Can you do that?


Lee 19th September 2010 09:44 PM

I must say I really like your tiller, even if it is unlikely that the original would have had such a nice design. I presume that you have fired it and I am curious about overall and maximum accurate range.

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