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Old 25th February 2013, 05:01 PM   #1
Mefidk
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Default Chinese? matchlock for comments

Hi folks

These don't seem to come up too often so I thought it might be worth sharing. I believe this to be a Chinese gun. Total length 136cm. Bore 13mm. The sprung matchlock mechanism is working. Although the peg that holds the spring in 'ready' position is worn and I would be very afraid of carrying it loaded, lit and cocked

The barrel is held by 29 brass bands (and one is missing), plus one sheet metal steel band securing the breech. The barrel is padded out by three leather circles to get the correct distance between serpentine and pan. The pan has no cover, neither can I see any evidence that there ever was one. The barrel itself is octagonal becoming round and is pretty crudely formed. No marks of any kind that I can see, and no sight. I think that the barrel is rather older than the rest of the fittings since corrosion around the breech end, and round the pan suggests a long and useful life. The rest of the barrel is in very good condition and has a very nice black patina.

Not sure what the hole in the 'pistol grip' is for. It looks old and not one made by a previous collector for wall mounting. No ramrod.

I am assuming this is 19C, but I'd be eager to hear from anyone with more knowledge of these.

Chris
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:47 PM   #2
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Here are a couple of Chinese matchlocks to compare, do you have any pictures of barrel the end, is it sealed shut or does it have a threaded barrel bolt like the Japanese matchlock.
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Old 27th February 2013, 04:45 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply estcrh

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the breech end of the barrel from the end, just this attached picture from the side. However, it is the sealed shut type with no discernable markings (although you can see the corrosion which might have obliterated any that were once there).
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Old 27th February 2013, 05:38 AM   #4
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This definitely is not my area, but I've handled a lot of Japanese matchlocks over the years having seen them at Japanese sword shows. IMHO, this doesn't look Japanese or Chinese to me. It looks more Afganistan or one of the more Arabic regions. Also doesn't look authentically old, more like an aged tourista.
I could be totally wrong and off base, if so, just chalk it up to an old fart showing his ignorance.

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Old 27th February 2013, 03:17 PM   #5
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Default Chinese ?

At best you might have a made up gun(Old barrel new wood)but even that looks a bit unlikely. I do not think it has any age. As to where it comes from as I don't think it is chinese, will only ever be a guess.
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Old 28th February 2013, 02:15 AM   #6
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Friends,
This is an interesting gun. I recommend taking at look at the matchlocks shown in Stone's glossary. I suggest that it is "south" Chinese or Indo-chinese. A neat piece.
Peter
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Old 28th February 2013, 05:48 AM   #7
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Definitely Chinese/Formosa, to Southeast Asia. Very nice. The hole in the grip, could be for a sling swivel of sorts. The Southeast Asian guns, don't have provision for a rammer.
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Old 28th February 2013, 12:05 PM   #8
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It looks pretty "right" to me, Chinese matchlocks always look a bit odd and put together. I think it is part of the traditional disdain of the Chinese for military stuff.
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Old 28th February 2013, 03:52 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies folks

Exactly what sort of gun it is I am not 100% sure, but it seems that there is broad agreement about the general region.

I am also pretty certain that this is not a 'new' gun, even the woodwork is not new, although newer than the barrel. It has been important enough for someone to repair the stock which had split and strengthen the repair with a screw - you can see it behind the trigger. The barrel shows signs of this being fired (a lot), and the corrosion that you can see is associated with this or is primarily under the barrel rings, especially the large steel one. When I got it there was a lot of active rust under there. The matchlock mechanism also shows signs of wear, at least suggesting that the mechanism has also been used a lot.

I guess this is not military, at least organised military since it does not have any markings, but it really is just a guess.
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Old 28th February 2013, 08:44 PM   #10
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Default rifle

The piece is right. China or the surrounding area is the location with that lock and form of stock. Age is a question. Guess from pics would be 19th century. A very similar form with a detachable lock was used by the montanyards and other various tribes in vietnam,annam,etc. Those particular ones were still in use during the vietnamese war and afterwards. Nice example.
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Old 1st March 2013, 12:39 AM   #11
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The percussion gun in this lot, is of unknown origin. The flinters are all from Southeast Asia. Sorry for the far away shot. Couldn't get the closeup to upload.
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Old 1st March 2013, 09:34 AM   #12
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A Vietnamese matchlock.
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Old 1st March 2013, 03:23 PM   #13
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Very nice piece estcrh. Any idea on what time-frame?
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Old 1st March 2013, 04:06 PM   #14
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Indeed that looks like a very fine gun estcrh! Clearly not all these are roughly made items

Great display of Vietnamese weapons. There clearly is a lot of variation here so I guess attributing individual guns to regions and times is going to be particularly difficult in these cases unless we have some kind of provenance with them.
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Old 1st March 2013, 04:58 PM   #15
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The issue of attributing a origin of a piece is always pretty difficult. Usually you will go on the form of a piece and the motifs.

Age is often a question because of a few reasons. If the configuration of the piece worked for generations why change it. Another reason is economics the change over to percussion and cartridge weapons in many areas did not happen untill mid to late 20th century because these improvements cost to much money to operate or were simply not easilably obtained. The 3rd reason is tradition or religion.

Trade or capture of a piece also makes origins interesting. It is generally held that most of the montanyard barrells were imported from china. The locks differ from the chinese but the form of the gun is very similar.

Moving borders and influences also makes things difficult. just because the piece was made 50 or a hundred miles over one border or by a gun or sword smith traveling or relocated into a new area.

Now when geniune markings and original inscriptions and or dating is found on a piece with the rest of the form and motifs matching then you can say this piece was made in libya in 1812 by so and so. Otherwise whem most describe things as chineese 19th century, they are refering to a general style of a weapon from a region and from a approximate time frame when it was used.
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Old 1st March 2013, 05:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trenchwarfare
Very nice piece estcrh. Any idea on what time-frame?
This is from Artzi at oriental arms, with no mention of age, very small at 39 inches total and 28 inch barrel. I would guess from 18th to 19 century.
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Old 1st March 2013, 05:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trenchwarfare
The percussion gun in this lot, is of unknown origin. The flinters are all from Southeast Asia. Sorry for the far away shot. Couldn't get the closeup to upload.
Great picture, I would like to see that close up, send it to me and I will edit it down to an uploadable size and post if you want. Were was it taken, was it a gun show exhibit?
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Old 2nd March 2013, 02:24 AM   #18
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I'm having some email issues. Here's a link to the post with the display. http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16348.
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Old 2nd March 2013, 05:59 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
The piece is right. China or the surrounding area is the location with that lock and form of stock. Age is a question. Guess from pics would be 19th century. A very similar form with a detachable lock was used by the montanyards and other various tribes in vietnam,annam,etc. Those particular ones were still in use during the vietnamese war and afterwards. Nice example.


To support what is noted by Ward, there are numerous images available on the net of Chinese soldiers with this form of gun. With the Chinese being so well spread throughout SEA and island areas, it may have been picked up anywhere but the form is Chinese. Osprey publications have drawings of similar, taken from photographic evidence.

Gavin
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Old 23rd January 2015, 02:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mefidk
Not sure what the hole in the 'pistol grip' is for.


According to the sample of the same type which is kept in Artillery Museum in Sankt-Petersburg, Russia, it was for the thong to carry the gun on the shoulder.

The next one is obviously missed. You meant one band missed - it could be the band with the ring for the thong.

I have the similar but a little bit longer matchlock. It was brought to Russia in 1900 by famous scholar Rudakov (he was sent to China to study the Boxers movement). Then it belonged to the late Prof. Artemyev who excavated the fort of Albazin in Amur basin. Then I bought it from his widow.

May I use the picture of disassembled gun in my paper regarding matchlocks used for tiger hunting in Manchuria and Korea? I do not want to disassemle mine
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Old 29th January 2015, 09:11 AM   #21
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Default 2 OF MY MONKEY GUNS FROM LAOS

AM PUTTING UP PICTURES OF 2 OF MY MONKEY GUNS FROM LAOS,BOUGHT INTO NEW ZEALAND BY AN AMERICAN C.I.A AGENT POSTED THERE IN THE 70s
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Old 29th January 2015, 03:18 PM   #22
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Very nice BANDOOK!
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Old 30th January 2015, 05:37 AM   #23
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Default LAOS MATCHLOCK

THANKS TRENCH,HAS A PART OF MONKEYS TAIL ON THE IGNITION AREA,MAY BE FOR GOOD LOOK OR TALISMAN
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Old 30th January 2015, 03:36 PM   #24
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Yes, all four of mine, have monkey fur frizzen covers.
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Old 7th September 2016, 10:30 PM   #25
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Default Chinese, Southern minorities

Hi guys, I don't check the forum that often so I must have missed this post.

The gun in question is most likely from the Miao people, an ethnic minority living in large parts of southern China, including Hunan, Yunnan and Guizhou.

Miao soldiers were feared gunners, William Mesny faced them while leading Qing troops in the area and he hailed their skill as snipers.

Identifying features are the shape of the stock and the multitude of sheet metal bands holding the barrel in place. The standard Chinese musket had far fewer, and often narrower bands and a slightly different shape of stock.

Some interesting passages on these people, their muskets, and their skills with them are described in Ian Heath's Armies of the 19th century; China. (The original sources it quotes are long out of print and hard to get.)

David Leffman wrote an interesting book on Mesny, titled: "The Mercenary Mandarin: How a British adventurer became a general in Qing-dynasty China" that will give some context to these guns.

A nice find!
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