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Old 6th June 2010, 06:58 AM   #25
Philip's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 631
Default "fake" gun / R. Daehnhardt / match vs tinder

Dear Michael
Thanks for your sequence of posts with a wealth of pics! Please pass along the biblio reference on that 1332 Chinese hand cannon if and when you find it. I'd like to look into the issue of the style of the inscribed characters, the "handwriting" issue. It's an interesting contention but it needs to be examined with an understanding of non-Western approaches to writing styles; like Arabic script, many "fonts" remained surprisingly static over many centuries (even 1-2 millennia in the case of Chinese), unlike the case in Europe. Be that as it may, I realize that this is not a subject of interest to you (or germane to this thread) so I won't carry it further.

Yes, I have read Mr Daenhardt's book and appreciate the attempt to explain what is a very significant and interesting case of West-East technology transfer. But like you, I have serious reservations about a number of things in his book, ESPINGARDA FEITICEIRA. You and I approach it from opposite ends, our expertise being focused in different hemispheres. You raise excellent points (I am new to the European Armoury board, thanks to our colleague Fernando, thus have missed the earlier discussion about these guns) and I notice shortcomings in the analysis on the oriental side of the spectrum.

Whether the serpentine heads can accommodate matchcord or twists of tinder is an interesting point even when looking at various oriental gun locks which derive from these Nuremburg snapping tinderlocks (via Portugal in Goa). It varies from one culture-sphere to another. For instance, the Chinese almost immediately switched to a match-type serpentine shortly after receiving the snap lock from the Portuguese: the head is forked and opens wide enough for a cord. The Japanese (and Korean) serpentine uses a matchcord as evidenced by period illustrations and the fact that the stock is provided with a hole through which the cord runs right up to the serpentine. The Vietnamese serpentine has the same shape but its terminus is so small that only a wisp of tinder will fit there. A detached lock from Java ex-Blackmore collection has two brass tinder-holders attached by chains for keeping the smoldering stuff clear of the serpentine (and pan) until after priming--there are remains of fibrous tinder in these holders, they are insubstantial in size and clearly not twisted or braided enough to qualify as cord. All these types remained in use until the second half of the 19th cent, or even into the 20th in parts of SE Asia.
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