Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
A fine Nuremberg matchlock Landsknecht harquebus, dated 1539
The stock of limewood, partly carved with triangular ornament; behind the barrel tang the Nuremberg city mark N. The barrel and lock of wrought iron, the first deeply struck twice with a Nuremberg maker's mark, two crossed crossbow bolts (also known from cranequins of the 1530's-40's), and the dated 1539. Although the upper end of the buttstock shows some damage the whole is preserved in unusually good condition regarding its great age; even the ramrod is the original, retaining its long iron finial threaded for cleaning tools. Overall length 112 cm, cal. 16 mm.
Only one other similar piece is known, the barrel bearing the same marks and date: it is on display in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg. I attach some details of that, too. It mostly differs from my piece in that the GNM's gun is in worse condition overall, especially the stock. The iron parts show traces of acid cleaning. The shape of the lock plate is slightly different from mine, the long tiller trigger is broken off and the ramrod missing. The barrel, however, is remarkable for having an incised serpent like wavy line ornament in its forward section ending in stylized Gothic trefoils consisting of three circles each.
The stock does not bear the N for Nuremberg, and the description reads that it is of walnut. The graining, however, is clearly that of limewood or possibly maple.
The measurements are almost exactly the same as in my piece.
These harquebuses were employed by those mercenaries who were called harquebusiers. The attached Nuremberg woodcuts of the 1530's show South German Landsknechte with their matchlock harquebuses.