East Asia, China, ca. 17th century CE. A hefty cast-iron hand cannon with a lengthy wooden pole secured with a small pin inside a narrow socketing shaft. The iron cannon has a narrow barrel with a flared muzzle and six ringed astragals, one with a pair of spike-shaped protrusions. A seventh large ring has a small perforated opening into which a lit fuse is inserted, thus igniting the compacted gunpowder held within. The Chinese hand cannon - or "handgonne" - was a shoulder-mounted weapon that was both cumbersome and difficult to aim. However if the fired projectile did hit its intended target, the damage inflicted would be immense. Typical hand cannons like this example were capable of firing .50 to .70 caliber projectiles, and paved the way for modern-day firearms. Size: 65" L x 4.25" W (165.1 cm x 10.8 cm).
Provenance: private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection
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