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Old 30th July 2021, 03:18 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 997

Well, some information I did find.

The inscription says, this cannon was made in the 28th year of Kangxi emperor, which would mean around 1689, designed by Nan Huairen. Nan Huairen is the Chinese name of flemish jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688).

1681 he designed a new model of a cannon, shenwei jiangjun, more then 2 m long, around 250 kg in weight, with high precision range of 300 m. In the following seven years Verbiest designed three more models, shengong jiangjun, chongtian jiangjun and wucheng yonggu da jiangjun. The cannon in Bern is the last, biggest model. Between 1687 and 1689 61 cannons of this type were made. They werent surpassed till 19th cent.

The cannon with 11 other ones, all from Beijing arsenal, came 1901 after the supression of Boxer rebellion to Germany, and were displayed in Museum of Militar History in Zeughaus Berlin. 1936 eight of these should be melted down for reasons of space (!). The Historical Museum of Bern acquired 2 of these, and since 1936 it is in Bern.

The inscription says, translated in German:

Im 28. Jahr des Kangxi-Kaisers der Grossen
Qing-[Dynastie] [1689]
«Militaerisch vollkommener [und] ewig standhafter
Generalissimus» verwendet
fuenf jin Schiesspulver [und]
Kanonenkugeln aus Eisen von zehn jin,
«Sternhoehe» ein cun fuenf li
Beamter fuer die Konstruktionstechnologie:
Nan Huairen;
Werkaufseher: Fobao,
Beamter fuer die Herstellung: Wang Zhichen;
Handwerkliche Dienstleute: Li Wende,
Yan Si.

The wucheng yonggu da jiangjun cannons were made in three sizes - the bigger one for 10 jin (6 kg 32 g) gunpowder, cannonball of 20 jin in weight, middle one sized for 6 jin 8 liang (3kg 880 g)/ 13 jin (7kg 842 g), and a small one for 5 jin/10 jin.

In China only one of 61 wucheng yonggu da jiangjun is preseved, of the biggest size. It is displayed at Duanmen gate in the Forbidden City (see the picture in *3). Two wucheng yonggu da jiangjun are still in Berlin, one in Ingolstadt, one in Coburg. Throughout there are 14 known wucheng yonggu da jiangjun outside of China, 13 in Europa and 1 in Japan.
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