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Old 5th June 2010, 12:32 AM   #20
Matchlock's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Hi Philip,

I must admit to have forgotten where I read about the 1332 Chinese handgun. It probably was in some of the earlier volumes of the Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde e.V., Berlin, 1897 and still being continued. Whenever I come across it I will let you know.

As I am not familiar with Chinese (and Far Eastern in general) weapons I cannot contribute as an expert to these. I just remember the shape of the cyphers being identical with Western modern cyphers.

I can tell from your use of the term of 'Schnappluntenschloss' that you are influenced by Rainer Daehnhardt's book Espingarda Feiticeira/The Bewitched Gun. I am sorry to say that from an impartial point of view, his book contains many essential mistakes regarding both terminology and dating. So the correct German term is of course Lunten-Schnappschloss but what he atually means would be Schwamm-Schnappschloss (snap tinderlock) as the guns he is talking about were not fired by a match cord (the heads of their tiny serpentines are far from being able to receive and hold match) but by a small and thin piece of glowing tinder (Schwamm). We have had this discussion before in several threads, very detailed and profusely illustrated, so you may wish to refer to them - especially as I published the same guns he did but with their correct origin (Nuremberg, instead of Bohemia) and date (ca. 1525, instead of 'ca. 1490' as Daehnhardt thought when erroneously following Arne Hoff's misdating of 1969.

Attached please find a characteristic Nuremberg made snap tinderlock arquebus of ca. 1525 and of the type I both inspected and photographed at large in the Západoceské Muzeum Pilsen. Of course the Pilsen armory got them from Nuremberg and they are still incorrectly labeled as Bohemian guns of ca. 1490 there - all based on Hoff's mistaken dating a gun of identical construction in the Landeszeughaus Graz to 'ca. 1490'. When first visiting Graz some 20 years ago I told the staff there that, as their gun was obviously a homemade Styrian production, it could not be dated before ca. 1525, being made after Nuremberg models. They then searched the city archives and found out that the maker's mark on that gun was the one of Peter Hofkircher, a gunsmith working nearby, who started furnishing guns to the Graz armory in 1524. So that was settled and has been regarded in all their publications ever since. After some discussions, it seems to me like Daehnhardt either does not have or does not wish to have knowledge of this fact because he continues dating all pieces too early.

Sadly, I cannot say much more on the Nuremberg (not Bohemian!) influences on the Oriental descendents, except that their lock pattern with the brass parts and springs, including their early German Renaissance decoration, of the 1520's was obviously closely followed by the Malaysian and Sri Lankan matchlocks while the Oriental butt stocks were orientated on the German double scroll style of the 1550's.

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