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Old 3rd September 2018, 04:13 AM   #1
Snowman
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Default Arab? Musket

Good Morning all! I'm new on this forum-name in Markku Kovasin...location Finland.

I have some questions -I have a matchloc muscet I belive is from Yemen or near it. It is about 145cm long,pipe 108cm long and weight ca. 3kg.

Now I'm interesteed how old it perhaps is-and does stamp on pipe barrel means anything interesting?And of course other things if anyone can tell it...

Here some photos of it.

Can anyone help me?

Best regards...Markku
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Old 6th September 2018, 08:33 PM   #2
Tim Simmons
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I know little about these but I think the metal at the end of the gun around the barrel is a recent replacement.
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Old 6th September 2018, 09:08 PM   #3
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Hi Markku and welcome to the Forum.
The gun you have is loosely called INDO-ARAB. It is, as you will know a matchlock action and looks in nice condition overall.
Origin could be Yemen, Arabia or even Southern India as the regions are relatively close and were for centuries connected by trade.
There are others here on the Forum who I feel sure will add to my comments and probably be able to narrow down the actual origin, and also comment on the barrel marks.
Stu

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Old 6th September 2018, 10:03 PM   #4
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Stu is right
I would even say it's an Indo Indo.
Probably Indian...
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Old 7th September 2018, 09:05 AM   #5
A.alnakkas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Stu is right
I would even say it's an Indo Indo.
Probably Indian...


The stock addition is definitely Arab. These were smuggled and traded from India, to Muscat and then to Kuwait where they spread all over the gulf. I own an example similar to this one belonging to a Kuwaiti family for many generations.
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Old 7th September 2018, 08:59 PM   #6
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I agree with Lofty in that the butt "pad" is an Arabian feature. Your gun though (on closer inspection) seems to show better than average decoration and brass work, which would perhaps suggest stronger Indian influence than Arabian.
Attached are a couple of pics (which have done the rounds before I think) showing alternative uses for these guns. I don't believe that they have put a man in space yet
Also one showing an Arabian dance..........
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Old 8th September 2018, 08:34 AM   #7
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After the two last posts I have to admit my ignorance, I didn't know about koweiti guns. I was assuming that it was Indian because it wasn't Omani or Yemeni... Very interesting thank you
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Old 8th September 2018, 09:28 AM   #8
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Hi Kubur,
If you read Lofty's post carefully, he does not say that this gun is Kuwaiti, but rather that they ended up in Kuwait as well as other places, and originated from India amongst other places.
Stu
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Old 8th September 2018, 09:40 AM   #9
colin henshaw
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I had one of these type of guns at one time. It was matchlock with a lot of applied silver, a large wooden butt "pad" with some bone inlay. Can anyone say which parts/adornments were usually made/added in Arabia ? Presumably the basic gun was manufactured in India ??
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Old 8th September 2018, 09:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Hi Kubur,
If you read Lofty's post carefully, he does not say that this gun is Kuwaiti, but rather that they ended up in Kuwait as well as other places, and originated from India amongst other places.
Stu


I did but your second photo convinced me that I might be wrong.
The thin and curve butt plate is very similar to the gun posted.
It's the nice thing with this forum: to pinpoint places and origins...
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Old 8th September 2018, 04:19 PM   #11
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Hi Snowman. Welcome to the Forum.

That's a nice looking Arab matchlock. (And I use the term Arab in a very generalized sense). As others mention, the decoration does remind one of South Indian influence. And that could be it's origin (?) But no telling where it ended up. LOL
I don't yet have one of these in my collection yet. But there is usually a variety that come up for auction throughout the year. Which gives you an idea of how long they were in use.
I've never really understood the purpose of the half-moon shaped wood butt caps on these guns. Even the latter, captured British pattern 1853 Enfield rifles were often altered in this manner. Curious.

A nice looking example.

Rick
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Old 8th September 2018, 05:29 PM   #12
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Rick, this is a very interesting question. I'm also interested at butt caps on these guns. Maybe someone knows?
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Old 8th September 2018, 05:39 PM   #13
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I've never really understood the purpose of the half-moon shaped wood butt caps on these guns.

I remember reading somewhere (maybe one of Freya Stark's books), that the large rounded wooden "pad" was to alleviate the very strong "kick" these guns had when fired. The recoil could be so hard as to throw the shooter to the ground, seemingly...
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Old 8th September 2018, 09:02 PM   #14
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I agree with Colin as to the probable purpose of the "butt caps". I have always understood that they were there to soften the kick of the gun against the shoulder......HOWEVER the feature is not present on Indian Toradors, which have a much smaller (and probably sharper) butt, so maybe it is a matter of Arabian taste, rather than practicality.
Stu
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Old 8th September 2018, 09:11 PM   #15
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Hi guys
i looked in my books and Elgood says Corg, Malabar...
So unless there is a matchlock from Koweit and I'm ready to accept this proposal (we need more Koweiti examples)
I think that the gun posted is from Malabar...
But the nice barrel is Persian if not Central Asian...
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Old 8th September 2018, 09:22 PM   #16
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By the way, similar butt can be seen in some Afghan rifles:
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Old 9th September 2018, 04:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi guys
i looked in my books and Elgood says Corg, Malabar...
So unless there is a matchlock from Koweit and I'm ready to accept this proposal (we need more Koweiti examples)
I think that the gun posted is from Malabar...
But the nice barrel is Persian if not Central Asian...



Kuwait is just like all the Arab countries who strictly brought weapons from abroad. You’ll find examples but without provenance it could very well be recently brought from Saudi or Oman. They all look nearly identical when it comes to the local additions. Many also retain decoration of their previous Indian or Persian owners. Some can be Ottoman guns too.

My reference to the example I own was not to conclude that the item posted is Kuwaiti or of any place in general but that it is fitting the broader style of Arab used guns.

With regards to the butt stock, I do not know why is it used but you can even find in modern guns such as the AK47.

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Old 9th September 2018, 05:13 AM   #18
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Hi!

Thank You...interesting answers.

Tim is right-this silver band is later work.

Pipe barrel seems to be damask-work.

But owerall this gun seems to be not so common?

That stamp on pipe-is it "gunsmith" mark or what?

And age of this muscet...any idea?

regards Markku
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Old 9th September 2018, 06:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
Kuwait is just like all the Arab countries who strictly brought weapons from abroad. You’ll find examples but without provenance it could very well be recently brought from Saudi or Oman. They all look nearly identical when it comes to the local additions. Many also retain decoration of their previous Indian or Persian owners. Some can be Ottoman guns too.

My reference to the example I own was not to conclude that the item posted is Kuwaiti or of any place in general but that it is fitting the broader style of Arab used guns.

With regards to the butt stock, I do not know why is it used but you can even find in modern guns such as the AK47.

Thanks for the clarification Lofty. Exactly what I was trying to convey in #8 above.
Stu
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Old 9th September 2018, 07:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowman
Hi!

Pipe barrel seems to be damask-work.

But owerall this gun seems to be not so common?

That stamp on pipe-is it "gunsmith" mark or what?

And age of this muscet...any idea?

regards Markku


Look above I already answered to your questions
The barrel is probably older than the gun, 17 or 18th.
Look at the barrels of the abu fatila, the Omani matchlocks
The gun is probably from the 19th c.
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Old 9th September 2018, 07:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Thanks for the clarification Lofty. Exactly what I was trying to convey in #8 above.
Stu


Hi
Well let me be more clear.
I do not believe in these indo arab terms, it's a nonsense.
So if someone, Lofti or other, brings evidence that these guns were produced in the Gulf (Kuweit included) then I'll be happy.
But up to now these guns are known to be from the Corgs, Malabar.
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Old 9th September 2018, 07:44 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi
Well let me be more clear.
I do not believe in these indo arab terms, it's a nonsense.
So if someone, Lofti or other, brings evidence that these guns were produced in the Gulf (Kuweit included) then I'll be happy.
But up to now these guns are known to be from the Corgs, Malabar.



No one is arguing these are made in Kuwait or anywhere else in the gulf. These and other fire arms, past and present are imported from abroad. Older abu fatilas are usually with Indian and Persian barrels. But the locals added decoration to it, including the butt stock. A thing they do even with modern weapons.
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Old 9th September 2018, 11:36 AM   #23
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I AGREE WITH KUBUR ,THIS IS FROM NORTH MALABAR/COORG REGION ,NICELY DECORATED,THE BUTT STOCK HAS ARAB ADDITIONS ,TRADE GUNS
I RECENTLY POSTED MY COORG GUN BUT NOT MANY MEMBERS COMMENTED ON MY POST EXCEPT RICK,AS THESE ARE RARE
BEST REGARDS
RAJESH
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Old 9th September 2018, 01:40 PM   #24
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Here some photos more...

regards Markku
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Old 9th September 2018, 05:55 PM   #25
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What an interesting Thread. Great reading and photos.

So there seems to be some agreement here that Snowman's gun is probably of Coorg origin. After looking through Elgood's and other reference books, this does make sense. Notice the wood cresent shape butt cap on Snowman's gun was an intentional, Arab style addition, as it's held in place with screws or nails. Otherwise, the original butt stock shape looks like it would be similar to Bandook's gun.
I agree with Kubur that the barrel looks older. Persian or maybe Ottoman. But this would not be unusual. We see the reuse of older barrels often with these guns.

The use of leather/fur wrapped butt stocks is still somewhat of a mystery to me. Somewhere, I once read that the leather with the exposed fur (wolf?) was used to ward off evil spirits. But the general consesus is that the leather was applied to help reduce the gun's recoil. Which, I guess, is the more logical explanation at the moment. But here is what I find curious: If you shoot muzzle looading shoulder guns with normal charges of black powder, the recoil is less than that of a typical, modern high power rifle. And the heavier the barrel, the less recoil. Of course, with heavier charges of powder increases the recoil significantly. But I can't imagine them wanting to waste powder in this fashion using double plus the typical amounts. Although there is plenty of evidence that the barrels made for Torador guns were designed for heavy charges of powder. Maybe it was just common the use of heavier powder charges in the attempt to get longer range for the projectile. So I might be answeing my own question here. LOL

The cresant shaped wood butt caps seem to be an Arab styling alteration. Notice the three pics Stu posted of the Arab dancers. Some of the guns have this same wood cap, while others have the additional leather/fur wrap. To me, the wood caps seem more of a traditional styling exercise than anything else.
Here are a couple pics of original P1853 British Enfield rifles that are Arab/Omani decorated. Notice the butt stocks were altered to receive this style of wood cap.
So it makes one think that Snowman's Coorg gun may have seen eventual use somewhere in the Arab territories (?)

Rick
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Old 9th September 2018, 08:51 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
What an interesting Thread. Great reading and photos.

So there seems to be some agreement here that Snowman's gun is probably of Coorg origin. After looking through Elgood's and other reference books, this does make sense. Notice the wood cresent shape butt cap on Snowman's gun was an intentional, Arab style addition, as it's held in place with screws or nails. Otherwise, the original butt stock shape looks like it would be similar to Bandook's gun.
I agree with Kubur that the barrel looks older. Persian or maybe Ottoman. But this would not be unusual. We see the reuse of older barrels often with these guns.

The use of leather/fur wrapped butt stocks is still somewhat of a mystery to me. Somewhere, I once read that the leather with the exposed fur (wolf?) was used to ward off evil spirits. But the general consesus is that the leather was applied to help reduce the gun's recoil. Which, I guess, is the more logical explanation at the moment. But here is what I find curious: If you shoot muzzle looading shoulder guns with normal charges of black powder, the recoil is less than that of a typical, modern high power rifle. And the heavier the barrel, the less recoil. Of course, with heavier charges of powder increases the recoil significantly. But I can't imagine them wanting to waste powder in this fashion using double plus the typical amounts. Although there is plenty of evidence that the barrels made for Torador guns were designed for heavy charges of powder. Maybe it was just common the use of heavier powder charges in the attempt to get longer range for the projectile. So I might be answeing my own question here. LOL

The cresant shaped wood butt caps seem to be an Arab styling alteration. Notice the three pics Stu posted of the Arab dancers. Some of the guns have this same wood cap, while others have the additional leather/fur wrap. To me, the wood caps seem more of a traditional styling exercise than anything else.
Here are a couple pics of original P1853 British Enfield rifles that are Arab/Omani decorated. Notice the butt stocks were altered to receive this style of wood cap.
So it makes one think that Snowman's Coorg gun may have seen eventual use somewhere in the Arab territories (?)

Rick

Interesting to note that the stocks of the 1853 Enfields shown above by Rick, do not appear to have the butts in question ADDED. In fact it appears from the pics, that the original stocks have been RESHAPED to achieve the appearance of the half moon.

As far as origin goes, I agree that it is very likely that Markku's gun is indeed from the Malabar Coast/Coorg. IF the butt is attached by a pin, as it appears from his pics, then it SHOULD be easy enough to remove to reveal the shape underneath. If the butt end shape underneath IS rounded as shown in other Coorg guns above, then it can reasonably be assumed that the origin of the subject gun is indeed also Malabar Coast/Coorg.
Stu

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Old 10th September 2018, 12:48 PM   #27
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Hi!

I removed wooden pad-it vas "riveted" with wood nails.
And looks like that..

regards Markku
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Old 10th September 2018, 08:55 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowman
Hi!

I removed wooden pad-it vas "riveted" with wood nails.
And looks like that..

regards Markku

OK so the butt has been reshaped to take the "pad". Not conclusive as to Coorg origin but still likely to be. As I have said before, the decorative work appears to be Indian rather than Arabian, so lets go with the majority of comment above, and say it is "most likely" to be a Coorg gun.
A very nice piece.
Stu
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Old 12th September 2018, 10:20 AM   #29
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I hope there is a picture of some Coorg notables attached
Regards
Richard
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Old 12th September 2018, 12:50 PM   #30
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Giving a bit more thought to the subject, a couple of further reasons for adding the wooden butt pad could be :-

1. From memory, the matchlock I owned had a very heavy long barrel. The butt
pad would be a counterweight to the barrel when holding and firing.

2. Indian people tended to have relatively small frames (ref. tulwar hilts); the
butt pad addition would suit an Arab man with a longer reach.

Here is a rather more "high status" gun, that was in auction in Britain earlier this year, for comparison.
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