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Old 1st May 2007, 06:26 PM   #1
fernando
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Default LUSO-CINGALEZE MATCHLOKS

I thaught this is a theme that, besides Philip Tom, might be of interest to other members.
Given that these weapons examples are rarely pictured, i am showing here two of them, scanned from a thematic auction catalogue printed in 1989, on Portuguese discoveries and naval expansion stuff.
Both pieces were produced in Ceylon. The first one was made still in the XVI century. Its total length is 1,70 mts. The barrel, unfortunately not shown in the picture, is from an original Portuguese musket. This is considered a very rare and important specimen; it was exhibited in various places, including the 17th. European Council exhibition, and was pictured for a well known edition of Portugal History.
The second one, a long piece with 1,95 mts. was produced by XVII-XVIII century, after the Portuguese period in Ceylon, but follows entirely the model introduced in the Island by the the son of the first Portuguese Vice-Roy in India, in 1505. It has a decoration of high quality, with details similar to those in pia-faetas. Also considered a very rare piece. The text quotes that Colombo had at the time specialized in matchlocks, exporting them to the other Islands. Part of these arms, however, would not be for active use, but to be exposed in the Temples, as offers to the Divinities.
Just for the record,the auctioners were Palacio do Correio Velho, one of the finest over here.
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Old 1st May 2007, 08:40 PM   #2
ward
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these malaysian rifles were discussed briefly in another thread. The 1st one is pretty rare but they do turn up and were continually being made to a much later date I suspect up into the 1800's

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=4410
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Old 1st May 2007, 10:49 PM   #3
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W W! Love the pictures, especially the striking mechanisms. Thanks for posting them.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 08:43 AM   #4
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Dear Fernando,
Thanks for posting these mouth-watering pics! I agree that the bottom specimen (the 1.95 meter one) has all the hallmarks of Ceylonese workmanship, and what a fine and rare example it is!

However, the one in the upper photo is, I believe, to be Malayan as opposed to Ceylonese in origin. I compared them against two published examples, both identified as from Malaya:
A. cat. no. 129, FIREARMS OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD IN THE TAREQ RAJAB MUSEUM, KUWAIT by Robert Elgood
B. Figs. 701-72 in GUNS AND RIFLES OF THE WORLD by Howard Blackmore

Mechanically, these two are identical to the one in the image which you provided. Note the long, straight, slender lockplate with the ornate decorations at each end, and the serpentine which terminates in a stylized zoomorphic head. The flattened triangular triggers, heavy trigger guards with a large ornamented bolt-head protruding from the anterior end, and the rather flattened priming-pans attached to the barrels are also common to all these pieces.

The example in Elgood has the lobed buttstock that is seen in your image (by the way, it is related to a similar profile seen on some styles of Japanese buttstocks as well). The specimen in Blackmore has a squared-off butt which is very similar to that on the matchlocks of neighboring Vietnam. The squared cross-section of the forestock ahead of the trigger, which transitions to half-round for the remainder of its length, is another feature that is carried over into the Vietnamese guns as well.

I would be most interested in seeing a detail of the muzzle of the Portuguese barrel on the top specimen, the one that I think is Malay. If it is of the 16th cent., one would expect to see the sizeable thickened mouldings at the mouth, as shown in the example (the replica made as a commemorative gift to the Japanese government) in Daehnhardt's ESPINGARDA FEITICEIRA. Of all the eastern nations which adopted the Indo-Lusitanian matchlock, Japan is the only one in which these oversized mouldings remained popular long after they disappeared in Europe.

In contrast, the three examples of Malay muskets which I have handled in recent years have plain muzzles (no expansion whatsoever), the two Vietnamese specimens in my collection have only a modest thickening or beading around the mouth, and the typical Chinese hunting gun or fowling piece has a slight conical muzzle reinforce similar to that seen on many Indian barrels.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 10:41 PM   #5
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Hi Ward and Philip
I know i don't have enough background to go onto an academic discussion in this subject.
But let's consider that, with due respect to Elgood, Daehnhardt is also an authority in this area. This to say he was one of the persons in charge of the classification and identification of the articles contained in this catalogue.
Also in his work Espingarda Feiticeira ( Bewitched Gun ) of which Philip has a copy, he mentions in page 103-104, under what he calls Cingalese-Malayan locks section, the same example figured in the discussed catalogue, as being of Luso-Cingalese production. He also mentions that this pattern was originally produced in Ceylon, after being spread by the Cingalese smiths to Malaca and Java, reaching all Malasia, including Molucas and Philipines. He further mentions that Ceylon and Java wwere the main centers of such production. BTW, also the second picture i have posted is mentioned in same pages of Dahehnardts work. The specimen shown in Elgood's book as being Malayan is dated 1700. This doesn't avoid that this model was first produced in Ceylon, in the 16th century, and after reproduced in Malasia. Elgood also mentions in the same page that a firmly based Portuguese model was presented in an exhibition held in Lisbon in 1983. It happens that one of the events in which the specimen shown in the discussed catalogue appeared, the 17th European Council exhibition, was precisely in 1983. Also the quoted footnote "4" mentions, apart from "Barreto and others", the initials RD, which could well mean Rainer Dahehnardt, a name that appears in the final credits of his work.
And finally, Elgood's specimen appears with a locally made barrel, certainly of that period, whereas in the example shown in the catalogue, the piece shown is equipped with a Portuguese barrel which, still according to Dahehnardts in Espingarda Feiticeira, could have being made in Goa, in the famous Casa das Dez Mil Espingardas. This would have certainly been a much earlier specimen. Eventually such barrel does not appear in the picture, so i can not post it.
But then again, comparing to you people, i know nothing about these things; i am just trying to be helpfull.
kind regards
PS
Philip, once you have got Dahehnardts ( bilingual ) book and also have some Portuguese language notions , i will send you the catalogue texts that supported the two muskets, plus the answers to the questions you have posed by e-mail.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 07:35 AM   #6
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Thanks, Fernando, for your comments and the added details. My study of these guns has been somewhat limited by unfamiliarity with the material in Portuguese collections. What I have been able to look at in detail has typically been in US and British collections and dealers' inventories, and this material has typically been presented as Malay, Javanese, or Indonesian. Although I am fairly familiar with the Ceylonese guns with Portuguese-style flint mechanisms, my exposure to matchlocks from this area has been almost nil. This is perhaps reflected in my hasty conclusion that the gun in question had to be Malay, without giving due consideration to Ceylonese antecedents.

By the way, you mention the Philippines as being an eventual recipient of the Luso-Cingalese musket technology (as quoted in Daehnhardt). I have yet to encounter a Philippine-made example, although we can't rule out the Moros or other tribal groups making use of imported specimens in the past. If you can locate a reference to a Portuguese style musket of Philippine manufacture, please share it.

The great Portuguese influence on the gun traditions of the Moros and other southern groups has been in the form of not muskets, but swivel-cannons for boats. The famous "lantakas" are thought to descend from light artillery on swivel mounts brought to the area first by the Portuguese, and later by the Dutch. Many of these guns that were introduced by the Europeans were breech-loaders (a design extensively copied by the Chinese, Koreans, and Thais; occasionally manufactured in Brunei and Japan as well), but it seems that in the Malay culture sphere, the swivel pieces tended to remain muzzle-loaders. The few Malay breech loading cannon are mechanically and proportionally quite similar to Portuguese models of the 16th-17th cents.

I look forward to receipt of the additional materials that you mention.
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Old 3rd May 2007, 10:35 PM   #7
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Hi Philip,
E-mail already sent.
Also some pages of Espingarda Feiticeira to Ward, once he hasn't got this book .

Yes, Lantakas are fun. The so called cannon money.
Just look at these two miniatures. They are functional, by the way, although they measure no more than 22- 24 centimeters. The one barreled specimen was made in Malaca, or somewhere in today's Indonesia, around the XVIII century.
The three barreled one, was intentionally to be worth triple money currency. Made in Siam, around the XVII-XVIII century. Very rare. Only one spotted in thirty years.
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Old 4th May 2007, 07:05 AM   #8
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Thanks, Fernando, for the mini cannon pictures. I am most amused by the small zoomorphic cannons, usually in the form of crocodiles, tigers, and bulls and with wheels attached, which were reportedly made in Brunei. Gardner, in his KERIS AND OTHER MALAY WEAPONS, shows a couple of these and they are featured in some museum publications from Indonesia and Brunei as well. A peculiar subtype is the bull or ox, with the cannon barrel on the back and firing backwards, over the tail. Gardner shows a rare example with an internal barrel, the muzzle emerging at the bull's buttocks!

By the way, for some detailed historical background on Portuguese breechloading cannon and their intro into China in 1523, see Joseph Needham's SCIENCE AND CIVILIZATION IN CHINA, Vol. 5, Part 7 (Cambridge University, 1986), pp 369ff. There is a photo of a rare breechloading swivel of Portuguese design, made in Africa (possibly Mocambique?), formerly in the Tower of London. Of interest in that photo is the exaggerated, flaring muzzle of the barrel which carries over into the design of lantakas of Malaya.

There are also period woodcuts showing the Chinese enthusiasm for the breechloading concept ("folangji", or Frankish machine), resulting in some rather large guns for land use. The book also has a discussion with documentation on the arrival of the Luso-Cingalese musket in China before its introduction to Japan.
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